We rolled into Sogamoso looking for a little rest and relaxation after our time hiking in El Cocuy. We camped at Finca San Pedro and it was exactly what we were looking for. Easy camping and good wifi went a long way. The following morning we were invited to a yoga session in the onsite studio. Perfect! Time to give everything a good stretch. Little did we know that this 2.5 hour long yoga session would also be a sales pitch explaining how good yoga was for EVERYTHING. Did you know that when you get really advanced in yoga that you are able to levitate?? Well, there wasn’t any levitation happening, but we did feel pretty zenned out and relaxed afterwards.
The nearby lake, Lago de Tota is known for it’s white sand beach, trout, and the onions that grow on the shoreline. A couple hours of driving around one of Colombia’s highest lakes showed us all three. We stopped for a quick view of the beach, picked up fresh trout from a shop in a small town, and bought onions from the side of the road. This great little lake was a perfect sightseeing opportunity and gave our legs a rest after spending 5 days hiking in El Cocuy National Park. The trout and onions made for a fantastic dinner later that evening!
After a couple of rest days, we were jonesing for hike sooner than we thought. The only hike we could find in Sogamoso actually began in a small town called Mongui. We parked in the square at Mongui and met our guide Maria. A guide is required since the trailhead and trail aren’t really marked at all. Maria and her husband, along with a local Colombian family, their dog, and a fellow traveler Olga from Russia would join us for what was supposed to be a relatively easy hike into the Paramo de Oceta.
It didn’t take long before we climbed in elevation and the landscape started to look familiar to El Cocuy. Frailejones were growing everywhere alongside long grasses and the landscape started to expand over mountains and valleys. Oh yeah, and the temperature started dropping. And then the rain started.
These caves were used by the local indigenous people to hide from the Spanish conquerers. We crawled through them and appreciated their shelter from the rain.
This is about the time (5 hours in…) when the fun really started getting sucked out of the hike. It was cold, wet, and windy. Ashley doesn’t seem too impressed with the situation. The Colombian family’s shihtszu wasn’t too keen on the weather either. He gave up on the walk and eventually had to be put into a backpack for the remaining part of the hike. His new name became glamor, likely due to his jacket and rhinestone collar.
After seven hours of hiking we finally made it back to Mongui. We drank piping hot cafe con leche, ate treats from the panaderia on the plaza, and said goodbye to our wonderful guides. Sure, the hike was probably one of the most uncomfortable that we have ever done, but the company was great, the views spectacular, and sitting in a warm cafe afterwards were all worth being a little wet and cold.