Mancora: Pizarro, Horses, Surfers, Fishermen, Hemmingway and Oil

There is nothing anyone can do with the past.  In a way, the past is not real because it is no longer ‘in existence’. There really is only NOW… but, sometimes images come to us in half awake dream scapes,  phantom images casting grotesque shadows on the walls of dark subconscious canyons.

Historical accounts of Human activity are similar to our own personal dreams.  The study of Human history is a way of determining our current position of NOW and a way of looking at Human behavior from a longer perspective. Have Humans changed? Are we ‘making progress’?  Are we ‘improving’?

Or is the Human saga best thought of in terms of  some kind of ‘spiritual evolution’… that takes place within each individual Human,  on a ‘one at a time’ basis?

Every circumstance or way of Life has it’s ups and downs, it’s positives and negatives. Who can say which way of life or circumstance is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another? In the end, each person will have a unique collection of their own Life experiences;  some  happy memories, some tragic ones, some joyful ones, some painful ones.  Might as well enjoy the ride as much as we can. It beats the alternative.

Evidence suggests that this ride (Life) has a beginning, a middle, and… an ending some day.

P1130717Above: Me on an 8yr old Arabian gelding who loves to gallop. No need to be shod, they only run in the sand. Photo North of Mancora main beach.

I’d like my Life story to have a happy ending and I’d like the story of my Life to have a comedic flair rather than having it tending toward the tragic end of the spectrum.

Our lives seem to be experiments which imply an unspoken intention of discovering  how much or how little control we really have in ‘writing the stories of our Lives’. Each individual Life is an experiment; begging the  centuries old question: ‘free will’  or  ‘predestination’?

As I wander around what is now Peru a few background thoughts are always present. One is the background thought, that everywhere I go I am witnessing the results of the Spanish arrival in the ‘new world’ and how that changed the lives of indigenous tribal groups, and how the subsequent events changed the European world.

There were no horses, no cows, no steel,  and no gunpowder in ‘the new world’  when the Spaniards arrived. (there had been horses in what is now the Americas before they became extinct sometime during the Pleistocene era)  <>

I visited the tranquil fishing village of Caleta La Cruz Pizarro;  the exact beach landing  from where Francisco Pizarro launched his conquest of the Incan empire in 1532.  Notice that ‘conquest’ is the root for the word that describes those early expeditionary forces: ‘conquistadores’.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to lay eyes on the Pacific ocean; successfully crossing the isthmus of what is now Panama in 1513. Balboa and Pizarro were acquainted.

Pizarro soon repeated Balboa’s trek. He led two ‘unsuccessful’ expeditions Southward from Panama having forged alliances with other men of ambition. The governorship of Panama had to ‘authorize’ the provision of further expeditions. That authorization wavered. A few years passed, with many disappointments and a few encouraging encounters.

Ever heard of drawing a ‘line in the sand’ ? The man to whom that is attributed is none other than Francisco Pizarro.  He drew that line in the sand at Isla de Gallo (actually a small peninsula on the Pacific coast of Colombia). Only thirteen of the many men there crossed that line, committing themselves to join Pizarro in future missions into Peru. These were later named the ‘famous  thirteen’ (los trece de la fama).

Pizarro sailed back to Spain to make a deal directly with the King… Charles I.  In 1529 Pizarro received a ‘royal decree’ from Queen Isabel naming him governor and ‘captain general’ of what is now Peru. Now he was on a roll and had more incentive than ever to proceed.

When he returned in 1532, he and his band of experienced and determined mercenaries, with scores of  horses, landed on a beach near what is now the small town of Culeta de cruz Pizzaro. It was here that the priest which accompanied him planted the first ‘Christian’ cross in these parts, and where Pizarro claimed the whole place for his king, the pope… and himself.  It was from this beach that they launched their invasion as  they marched inland toward Cajamarca, stole the Incan gold, and murdered thousands of Incas, including Atahualpa, the Incan ‘king’.

The Spanish/European version is that these were brave men fighting for God, Jesus, the pope and the king.  Pizarro (who was mostly illiterate and born to a woman ‘out of wedlock’ ; a big no no in those days) …  rose to immense power and successfully pulled off one of the biggest gold heists in history.  The Pizarro tale is a case study of how ‘history’ repaints one of the most outrageous crimes perpetrated by ambitious, greedy, ruthlessly brutal men as a fine example of religious devotion and utmost patriotic courage.  Odd, isn’t it?

Nine years later, one of his brother’s killed  an early partner; Diego de Almagro.  <  >   Not long afterwards, Amargo’s family has Francisco Pizarro murdered, in retaliation.

Francisco Pizarro:  A classic, ‘rags to riches’ / ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’ story… all rolled into one.

To some, Francisco Pizarro was a ‘heroic’ figure, a ‘man’s man’. To others (the Incas, for example) he was a despicable, ruthlessly brutal, liar, cheat, thief, and murderer.

Below is a fairly accurate video account:

I passed through the small town of Zorritos,   < > where the first oil well was drilled in South America in 1863 (330 years after Pizarro’s plundering). Drillers continue to drill and now oil platforms can be seen near the coast all along Northern Peru.

Visited Cabo Blanco,  <,_Peru >  where Hemmingway watched as the film version of his ‘Old Man And The Sea’ was being made.

Below: Videos of surfing the Cabo tube when the swell is in:

Below: Black marlin fishing action from the days when there were many ‘granders’ caught near Cabo Blanco.

Below: Photos of Papa Hemmingway at Cabo

Next: Trujillo

En Route: Pedro Ruiz/Bagua/Chiclayo/Mancora

Departed Cuispes and Pedro Ruiz Feb 14th and proceeded onward through  Bagua Grande (one more ‘collectivo’ (van) ride) to arrive in Bagua (Bagua Chica to the locals).

P1130419The collectivo (van) service office in Pedro Ruiz

P1130431View of the two main hostels in Pedro Ruiz from the collectivo office. (Gas station sign to right of photo)







P1130447Normal, everyday rock slides along road from Pedro Ruiz to Bagua Grande during the rainy season Dec-April. Nearly all roads in the Andes run parallel with a river… this one; the Rio Utcabamba.

Spent three nights in Bagua. Severe asthma symptoms showed up. It is significant to mention that there are more pharmacies in Bagua center than there are restaurants. I heard several people hacking and coughing. The roads are mostly torn up and there is dust everywhere and on everything… including plants. The smell of burning plastic filled the heavy, hot, dusty air. People dispose of their garbage by burning it.


P1130499Bagua streets are under construction, dust everywhere… including the lungs of the inhabitants

Thought it wise to re-think my original plans of proceeding North to Sarameriza with the goal of seeing  the Pongo de Manseriche…

Following that, had planed to descend this remote section of the Rio Maranon to Lagunas; then upriver on the Rio Huallaga to Yurimaguas.

Because of the health issues I chose to not pursue that plan at this time. Didn’t want to get ‘stuck upriver without a paddle’… In other words was concerned about my health issues and the possible lack of services… pharmacies.

Came up with a new game plan… visit the Northern coast of Peru. To get to the coast from Bagua (on public transport) one must first go to Jaen. From the map it looked like there would be a direct service to Talara from Jaen. That is not how it works.

Rode a bus from Bagua to Jaen. Spent one night in Jaen.  Inquired about direct service from Jaen to Talara at terminal in Jaen. Was informed that one must first go to Chiclayo… a considerable distance South of Talara. (Later found out that there IS a service going direct from Jaen to Piura… would have taken it had I been informed of it’s existence. The ‘new service’ is with Moviltours… Jaen to Piura and vice versa)

Sounds complicated doesn’t it?  It is a bit confusing and frustrating. That is what life is like in parts of Peru. The most ‘civilized’ parts of Peru tend to be on the coast. Lima being the capital. Obviously, it is easier to build roads on flat terrain  (the coast) than in the mountains. Peru is a large country. 80% or more of the population live in the major cities… Lima, Chimbote, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Tumbes, Arequipa; all on on very near the coast.

Bus from Jaen to Chiclayo took six hours. The bus passed through mountainous terrain, back and forth, up and down,  along a road carved into the mountainside, following the natural river canyon features.

P1130542A picture says a thousand words: These plastic chairs are chained together in the bus station in Jaen.

P11305465 hours of this (and on much steeper/curvier areas)  before reaching the lowlands. 6 hours total Jaen to Chiclayo.

By the time I got to Chiclayo I was tired, frustrated, hot, and still not feeling well. The bronchial issues remained. Inhaling Bagua’s burning plastic fumes and pulverized dust that sometimes is wet with tropical rain where chickens, vultures, rats, insects and who knows what manner of bacteria, mold, dust mites live… is not conducive to promoting good bronchial health.

I am sure Chiclayo has many wonderful things to see and do. I didn’t do or see any of them. Stayed three nights in a small hotel near the bustling center. I walked no more than  ten blocks from the hotel my entire stay, emerging from my room only for meals.

My new game plan: 1. Get to the Pacific coast and breathe clean sea air and eat fresh seafood.  2. Get rid of the bronchial issues. 3. Visit the place where, in 1532, Francisco Pizarro planted the first ‘christian’ cross in what became Peru just before he and his handful of brutal mercenary thugs went on to plunder Incan gold and slaughter thousands of Incas. 4. Visit where Papa Hemingway watched as the film version of his ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ was shot… he caught a 750lb. marlin while there. 5. Visit the Westernmost point in South America.

Had to do more ‘boots on the ground’ investigations as to how to get from Chiclayo to Mancora.  Had a taxi take me to the various bus lines in town and inquired in person. The company: Transportes Chiclayo offered the best service to Talara.

Checked out of my Chiclayo hotel at 6AM after my third night. A cab delivered me to the bus station by 6:30AM. Was  enroute to Talara  at 7:05AM.

P1130576Typical scenery Chiclayo to Piura

P1130596Counted 30 (or so) very large windmills near Sullana

The road to the North coastal region from Chiclayo does not go inland.  It sticks to the lowlands. It is mostly flat and straight… therefore much faster than the Jaen to Chiclayo route.  First major city is Piura… 3 hours from Chiclayo. Next: Piura to Sullana… about 45 minutes. Next: Sullana to Talara… about an hour.  Had to change buses in Talara to get a different service (Eppo) from Talara to Mancora. Several small stops along the way… an hour and a half.

Arrived Mancora Saturday, Feb 21st. One full week later from departing Pedro Ruiz.

By the time I checked into my hostel in Mancora it was about 6PM. Had been up since 5AM and traveling the whole day.

Needless to say, I was beat.

Next blog post: Mancora






My experience of Pabellon took place late in the afternoon on Friday 13th, 2015.

P1130392Along the trail…

I have traveled enough to have developed a sense of particular geographies and the way that Humans relate to those geographies.  Humans can, do, and have adapted (developed means to survive in) to conditions present in harsh as well as idyllic environments.

It is my experience that Humans who live in idyllic environments don’t know how good they have it… and conversely… Humans who live in difficult, ugly, or harsh environments often do not know how (comparatively) bad they have it. That has to do with adaptation… and with not having experience from which to compare.

P1130394Plant Life Adapted To The Cloud Forest Environment

Biologists study and point out various strategies that plants, animals… including Humans, and other Life forms use to survive and adapt to different environments. Biologists know that it is the conditions that exist in a particular environment that cause living creatures to behave differently from one another.

Buckminster Fuller pointed out that Humans seem to be a creature that has the ability to alter it’s own environment more drastically than any other creature.  That would indicate that Humans have the ability to ‘control/alter’ their own rate, state or direction of their own ‘development’… perhaps more so than any other (known) creature.

There are (environments) places, experiences, and fellow creatures that are so ‘special’ that they defy description in language.  Some ‘Naturescapes’ come close to embodying the ideal of transcendent beauty.  Some places and pieces of time are so personally sacred and mystical that they can not be shared… even with another Human who may be present at the same place and time.  Such was my experience of Pabellon.

It was late in the afternoon and it had just rained. There was a palpable sense of the primeval and essential that seeped into my being on this hike. The tone of the birds and the gentle sounds of water dripping from the leaves onto the forest floor caused me to deepen my appreciation for this time and place. The slant of the late afternoon sun was further diffused in the mist.

Birds and hiking sounds in the wet late afternoon cloud forest

My ankle was aching from both the Yumbilla and the Chinata hikes… Chinata earlier the same day.  The trail was wet and muddy, There were several places where on a slight downhill slope my boot slid in the clay like mud. I am not ‘superstitious’, but I am affected by the stories that float around in my culture. (part of my ‘mental environment’) I was aware that it was Friday the 13th and that I was tired and in slight pain and that this was a special place.  I had to keep inventing ‘best case scenarios’ while simultaneously enjoying the sense of adventure.

I had developed the habit of being ready to take a photo or video with one hand and capturing sound with the digital recorder in the other  hand.  Both hands were occupied with these devices. I try to capture a ‘raw’ sense of what I am experiencing to share it with the few people who look at this blog.  Given my condition and the condition of the trail I soon realized that I should pay more attention to not slipping in the mud than taking audio, video or photos.

I did slip and fall while crossing a small stream where the rocks were covered in algae. My camera is waterproof. The digital recorder is not. I do keep the recorder in a plastic zip lock bag in my shirt pocket when I’m not using it.  When I slipped and fell in the stream I was holding the recorder in my left hand. The recorder made contact with the water very briefly. I immediately pulled a microfiber cloth from my back pants pocket and soaked the water off.  I reckoned that to be good enough for a Friday 13th experience.  From then on, I was much more careful.  I no longer walked carrying these devices in my hands. I would stop to take a photo or recording.

Just minutes before arriving at the waterfall there is a rock overhang where you can see people have camped beneath. There was a used campfire site under the rock. That is the last photo or video I have of this hike.  The battery for the camera ran completely out of juice.

I have no photos or videos of Pabellon. Fitting, I think. Lao Tzu could have predicted it. There are some things the Tao wishes to preserve in privacy. They are mystical and sacred. They can not be ‘translated’ into photos or videos or sound files or words. Some things can only be etched into a Human soul by experiencing them.  Such was Pabellon for me.

Attempting To Describe The Indescribable

Even though Mario, my guide was right there seeing and hearing the same things… he did not have my experience. It is true that this hike and place was new to me and that for Mario it was just another day in a place he had been to many times.  Adaptation can sometimes cause an atrophy of ‘awareness’.

P1130404Mario on the trail ahead

To distinguish the ‘sacred’ from the ‘profane’ one must value and hone one’s sense of awareness. It is in that awareness that arises the sense of immense gratitude for the experience of Being Alive.

If you are to enjoy Life to the fullest, take care , my friends, that you cultivate the ability to savor those rare and precious moments in your Life when you sense how very close you are to experiencing a state of TRANSCENDENCE… a glimpse into the Nature of Eternal Perfection against the background of the impermanent.

Thoughts While On The Return Hike


Got A ‘New Step’ in Cuispes

(This is the second blog entry about my experience in Cuispes. Am writing this from a small hotel in Bagua. (not Bagua Grande)

Robot maintenance issues (health concerns) demand that I alter my original plans.  Have been poring over my detailed map of Peru (ITMB publications) and gave myself a few days for the subconscious to digest some things. New plan is to proceed to the North coast of Peru and see the Westernmost point of South America and the actual scene of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and The Sea’: Cabo Blanco.)

Mule ride and hike to Chinata falls: Friday 13, 2015

P1130076My mule pal that carried me up to the entry of the hiking trail leading to Chinata waterfall

Mules are stronger, and generally healthier than horses and larger than burros. They are the ideal pack animal for farmers in the highlands. My mule was completely accustomed to carrying heavy loads up and down the mountain. Most of his cargo, though is potatos, yucca, plantain, or other produce. I’m pretty sure my 160 lbs. seemed about normal to him.

I always talk to any animal that has ‘agreed’ to lend me their strength.  This guy was very healthy, calm, and very well mannered.  I also appreciated the fact that Mario (my guide) did not use a bit in his mouth, only an elementary halter made of rope loosely tied around his head. He stopped occasionally along the way grab a mouthful of forage for breakfast.

I found that the legend about mules being stubborn is probably a myth. (at least it was for this one). Rather, I saw that he was very deliberate. He would not allow Mario to ‘control’ his pace. He demanded that he set his own pace.  He halted at precarious looking places to check them out before proceeding. He stopped at each ‘intersection’ along the trail, like a car stopping at a stop sign. He looked both ways before proceeding. He did not stop that often and only briefly. Mario led the way and coaxed him onward, not jerking on the rope but gently pulling on it. Mario never got angry nor ever raised his voice to the mule. They were partners.

(The following link will give insight into how some of the Cuispes trails were improved in 2009/2010 with the help of USA volunteers/funding and the work of local Humans and oxen:

This mule’s behavior did not match the word stubborn in my opinion.  Seems to me he was cautiously smart. It’s not like he doesn’t accomplish his requested tasks. It’s just that he won’t be ‘forced’ into doing something he doesn’t feel is correct.  I like mules.

P1130078No bit in his mouth. Loose rope for a halter. Good to go.

P1130087First Sighting of Chinata

P1130121Come on… gently now, you can do this

Mario is still adjusting to the idea of a potential career as a guide. As previously mentioned; this is virgin tourist territory.

My right ankle was in pain from the previous day’s 6 hour hike up and down the Yumbilla trail. I have ankle injuries (both ankles, two different injuries, a year apart from each other).  My right one gets really cranky the morning following a long hike.

Clip clop of mule hooves on rocks/mud/water and bird sounds

This (Chinata) trek required an additional 3 hours round trip foot hike on steep, muddy terrain when the mule gets ‘parked’ for a while. It is certainly possible to hike this whole trail on foot from Cuispes center, no problem. I was taking good care of myself. (part of good robot maintenance) The mule didn’t mind too much and I needed the help.

P1130153Yes, we had to ford a few streams along the way.  I did ask for the mule’s name. It was not Mario’s, if the mule did have a name, Mario did not know it.

P1130186The mule is tied up down below as both Mario and I trek onward and upward on a steep and muddy trail towards Chinata. We crossed two ‘huaycos’ (mudslides) which are normal in this area from Dec to April.

Huaycos are like mud and boulder/rock avalanches. When they start there is no stopping them. Nor is there any preventing them. They will continue to happen in these parts as they have since the Andes were formed.

P1130208Passing nearly vertical sheer rock wall faces along the trail

P1130222A lonely mushroom along the pathway

Saw several types of mushrooms along the way. Mario said some of them are edible and others are not. I don’t know a lot about mushrooms.  Scientific studies suggest that mushrooms may be the single largest life form in the forest. ( Their mycelium; the fungal equivalent of a root system, can attain incredible lengths under the soil.

P1130266Chinata !

The sound of Chinata falls at the lower tier

Chinata falls ranks right up there in the top 50 in the world at 573 meters (1880 ft.) It has three tiers.




Left Cuipes on mule about 8 AM. Parked the mule somewhere along the trail and continued on foot. 3 hours round trip up/down on foot back to the mule. Arrrived back in Cuispes around 3PM. My right ankle pain was kicking up. Paid Mario for the mule and for his guide services. Asked Mario if he thought we had time to take in one more before nightfall. He said we could take a mototaxi up to the trailhead of Pabellon. He said that the foot path to Pabellon could be done in about 45 minutes round trip. I thought I could handle it… in spite of the fact that it was Friday the 13th. Had a late lunch with the husband and wife proprietors of Hospedaje Rocio. Took a pain pill for my ankle.  Mario returned with the mototaxi around 4PM. There was a light rain on the way to the trail entrance.

Next up: The Pabellon hike

Cuispes/Yumbilla – Two Steps Forward…

Sounds Of Yaku Urku (Quechua for ‘water in the high mountains’) Along The Hike To Yumbilla Falls

Birds and Waterfall Sounds On Trail To Yumbilla Falls

P1120816Above: New Entrance To Yumbilla Falls Trail, 5km from center of Cuispes

Rode a combi/van service from Jaen to Pedro Ruiz on Feb 10, 2015. Spent the night at Casa Blanca hostel in Pedro Ruiz. Following morning I got a mototaxi to take me to Cuispes. All uphill on a gravel road. Evidence of random rockslides (derumbles in Spanish) in several locations, normal for this time of year. Ride to Cuispes took about 25 minutes. Arriving at the small town plaza first stopped in front of La Posada Cuispes (a hostel) where the mototaxi driver beeped his horn several times. There was no response. He then proceeded to the opposite side of the square at the Hospedaje Rocio. A man came outside after the first beep of the horn and I paid the drive and checked in.

P1120800Downtown Cuispes. View Across Central Park. Building To Right is Hospedaje Rocio

Not exactly a great first impression for first time visitors/tourists.  Pedro Ruiz is not exactly a tourist haven, followed by the jarring, uphill mototaxi ride passing eight or ten distinct rock slides to arrive at a tiny village where the managers of the ‘best’ (advertised) hostel (only two exist in Cuispes) don’t bother to answer the door.

But… the best of many things is often hidden behind an unassuming exterior. Such is the case of Cuispes and the stunningly beautiful Natural world that exists a few hours hike further uphill from the town center.


Above: Some photos of the Yumbilla trail. The man carrying the pick/axe is my guide, Mario

P1120847Above: Vista of the hike. Lower left is the first glimpse of a waterfall prior to Yumbilla

It is a 5km hike from Cuispes center to the entry to the Yumbilla trail. There is a local ‘association’ made up of eight men in the village. The name of the association is Yaku Urcu (spelling?) which means ‘water in the high mountains’ in the Quechua language.  These men are the ones who put immense effort in creating the improvements to the trail, including the entryway, and many, many very heavy rocks, all moved and placed into position by hand, with only steel bars and pick axes for tools. No ‘mechanized’ equipment of any kind.

The trail passes through private ‘chakras’ (small farms). The Yaku Urku association of men are the ones promoting the tourist/visitor trade to the area. They charge the miniscule amount of 10 Soles (about 3 bucks) to enter the trail. They also require that a person or a group hire a guide (a good and necessary thing for tourists). The quoted fee for the guide the day that I went was 30 soles (about 10 bucks).

These efforts are very new.  Yumbilla falls was only recently ‘discovered’ (by non-locals) in the past 10 years or so. It has been measured by competent survey teams and it is, in reality, the fifth highest waterfall in the world.  There are several other notable waterfalls in Cuispes.

P1120881Above: Four members of the Yaku Urcu association. Mario, my guide is another.

P1120882Above: Heigh ho, heigh ho… Every Thursday, Yaku Urcu invest their time and effort creating/improving the Yumbilla trail.

P1120912Above: At the lower tier

P1120946P1120953The above two photos were taken from the same location. Scale is deceptive. The top shows the mid tiers. The lower shows the uppermost tiers. Yumbilla has four tiers. Total drop is 895 meters (2,936 ft.)

On the hike back to the entrance (about five hours round trip) I had an opportunity to help the men improve the trail. About halfway back down from Yumbilla the workers were… working. Francisco, the ‘tesoro’ (the leader) of Yaku Urcu asked if I could  make it the rest of the way back to the entrance because they could use the extra set of hands of my guide, Mario. I knew it was well marked and I had a whistle and my Spot device so I agreed. I also pitched in by humping a few rocks into place and tossing others to shore up the trail. I was invited to share lunch. I agreed, objecting that it was not right for me to work only a little and eat the share of the men that were doing more work. They insisted. I declare myself an honorary member of Yaku Urku.

I have many photos and videos and sound files of my Yumbilla hike, too many to post here. Plants, mushrooms, bromeliads, orchids, butterflys, sounds of smaller streams and the thunder of the larger ones. This post gives only a glimpse of the Natural delights of this amazing place.

(Was going to include my hike to Chinata and Pabellon in this post but will do that another day. My back is aching from the mule ride up and down to the beginning of the foot trail to Chinata and my bronchial issues have returned (am now in Bagua). Did not sleep at all last night because I could not breathe. The small Salbutamol inhaler helped only a little. Got a few pills from a pharmacy after describing my woes. I am re-thinking my original plan of seeing Pongo de Maseriche in favor of going somewhere I didn’t have these bronchial issues. I had NONE of these issues in Cuispes… nor on the hikes there.

Where I was considering going until the asthma showed up here in Bagua:

Here are a few final tastes of Yumbilla:

P1120971P1120995Heading back down to the entrance (solo)

P1130008A view from the trail heading down

Below is the sound of majestic Yumbilla. Pointed the microphone downwards, 200ft below, towards where the water crashed into the rock/pool at the mid-tiers.

Next post: The Chinata hike which took place on Friday, 13 Feb 2015.

Exited Ecuador… En Route to Yumbilla Falls

I promised myself (in the Chachapoyas to Pucallpa post: 2014/03/22) that if I were to return to this area I would hike the Yumbilla falls trail. That is my immediate ‘self-assigned’ misson.

I get asthmatic symptoms in the Ecuadorian highlands in the wet season. My body is not adapted to the 3000 different types of plant pollen that get hammered off the plants from the rain in the highlands and then drift on the wind, eventually finding their way to my nose and air passageways. To complicate things further, a few weeks ago I got a ‘bug’ of some kind (others in Vicabamba complained of it, as well).

Crossed the Ecuador/Peru border on the afternoon of Feb 6th.  Have pics and vids of the journey which I will post here later.

Have been resting up for three days in Jaen.  Regaining my strength from the recent bout(s) of bronchial issues. A lady at the pharmacy gave me nine capsules of amoxycilin. (yes, you can buy things like this directly at a pharmacy… just accurately describe your symptoms and the pharmacist will recommend their best guess) Caveat Emptor is the norm in many placed in South America. So, I look up any medications that may be offered and then I try them out for a few days to see if there are any improvements. (I know that Amoxycilin is ineffective on any ‘viral’  issue)

That said; after three days of taking it as prescribed (and much bed rest) I am feeling a little stronger. More good news is that my asthmatic symptoms seem to be improving.

I am now fed, clean, and packed. Ready to make the move toward Bagua Grande, then on to Perdo Ruiz… then see if I can get a mototaxi to take me to the small highland village a Cuispes, from where I will start the Yubilla falls hike.

A good friend recommended that I:

“…Get a new step in my walk…”.

Great advice from a very wise brother.

I am off to create that  ‘New step in my walk’.

More later…  for those who remain interested.

Adios, for now.