Neiva to Mocoa

by lwsaville

In the interest of getting the blog back on track someday I’ll be brief. These are photos with captions from the section between Neiva and the town of Mocoa in Colombia also passing through San Augustín (a popular tourist stop off for some ruins). The route (another from Cass Gilbert) took us away from the main roads and into a sting of little towns that one might never see in a smash and grab Colombian experience. Kudos to Heidi for gritting out some tough bits right at the start of her cycling trip!

_DSC9477

Grouchy looking bird.

_DSC9491

The pretty and gothic style church in Yaguará.

_DSC9495

_DSC9508

_DSC9533

An interesting geologic spine

_DSC9536

Heidi cruising along contentedly.

_DSC9544

This little guy was fluffed up and outrageously red.

_DSC9551

A local economic prospect drying in the sun, no importa if the rain starts spitting.

_DSC9557

Heidi looking sceptically at me from my perched advantage.

_DSC9558

Heading around the edge of the spine

_DSC9562

Like a lot of Colombia, looking lush and a few blooming trees added a bit of flair to the numerous shades of green.

_DSC9570

Heidi tearing up the dirt road.

_DSC9574

Another economic prospect before it goes through processing and ends up in chocolate bars.

_DSC9580

Heidi’s super cheap, but excellent, front rack comes equipped with a spring loaded gear grabber. It’s handy for lots of things, from watermelons and honey dews to this dirty rag (El Shukito).

_DSC9597

Another church seen from the side of the road as it wraps around leaving La Plata.

_DSC9604

Some plants out to dry and later off to market to be bought and used as natural scrubbers, principally for a dirty backside in the shower.

_DSC9610

The seemingly antiquated wooden machine that is used to squeeze juice our of freshly cut sugar cane yielding a sweet drink, in these parts called Guarapo.

_DSC9614

The goods are in the cup and mixed with fresh limon juice. Guarapo is really tasty and I feel like we discovered the drink a bit late in the game.

_DSC9633

Passing on a motorbike after work this guy offered to give us some oranges. Further down on the road we received a huge bag of oranges and an offer to stay at his house in La Argentina. Dragging ourselves into the town after dark was a potentially unpleasant experienced tempered by the hospitality of him and his family.

_DSC9637

The friendly, girl heavy, family.

_DSC9642

“Pa’que es?” (What’s it for?) was repeated over and over while this big eyed young girl touched or pointed out various bits of our gear.

_DSC9648

_DSC9681

Heidi hanging with the girls while they eat some apples we had brought.

_DSC9686

The area, abundant with productive land, also grows Pitahaya, a strange tropical fruit difficult to for me to describe but really delicious.

_DSC9690

A local woman offers to give Heidi a shove on an extra steep stretch.

_DSC9693

The earth speckled with heavily ripe Guayaba. You certainly wouldn’t starve through these parts. With Guayaba Colombians made a hardened sort of jelly (Bocadillo) that they cut in pieces and wrap in leaves. I loved unwrapping a chunk and tossing the “wrapper” on the side of the road.

_DSC9696

Rain threatening as we push on, trees lining the country lane.

_DSC9712

One more brightly colored bird sighted along the way.

_DSC9716

The canopy of a large tree that I liked the look of.

_DSC9721

The sun falling with the light beginning to change color, making things progressively more dynamic and beautiful.

_DSC9738

Diminishing light gets cut into pieces by passing clouds and highlights a big grassy plain that I had passed earlier but was shrinking as I climbed away.

_DSC9741

Heidi and I playing on the teeter-toter in the yard of a wooden shack we called home for the night.

_DSC9744

In addition to movement up and down it spun around on its fulcrum. Heidi powerless to do anything (short legs)!

_DSC9761

Clouds creep in over the hills as dusk falls.

_DSC9777

The various levels and types of cloud showing off on the horizon.

_DSC9781

Nothing beats fresh papaya in the morning.

_DSC9802

Nor the view off into the valley where we been the previous day.

_DSC9810

The shack.

_DSC9818

On a descent we passed by some windswept grazing land that was perfect for a number of beautiful spiders along the fence line.

_DSC9822

_DSC9826

A dog taking a nap.

_DSC9844

Climbing out of the valley towards Pitalito on decent pavement.

_DSC9849

In Guacacallo hanging around the square waiting for people to head home so we could camp somebody had called somebody and gotten the keys for a community market building. Heidi’s pulling out bedding gear.

_DSC9871

Little coffee plants carefully nursed from sprouts on upwards to a size acceptable for planting.

_DSC9874

We ran into an Argentinian called Federico a few km outside of San Augustín and rode together for a second.

_DSC9876

A horse parked on the street in San Augustín.

_DSC9882

Empanadas we discovered at a bakery.

_DSC9885

Fighting cocks tethered at a distance from one another.

_DSC9891

A side of the road fruit stand sporting principly granadilla and its purple cousin whose name I don’t remember.

_DSC9892

I passed a cycle tourist further down who appeared to be waiting for someone, the someone was this fellow who had flatted and was trying to fill a leaky tire. I had an excess of tires from the downhill Heidi nightmare and helped to get him on his way. They had entertained in the street enough in a city to buy some bikes.

_DSC9893

Some other fellows rucked up during the flat-fix also heading the other way.

_DSC9897

Up further on the pass between Pitalito and Mocoa, it gets really wet and jungly.

_DSC9904

San Juan de Villalobos is basically just a handful of businesses and homes scattered along the roadside.

_DSC9911

Power lines and wispy clouds over forest.

_DSC9919

Looking down the valley we were descending.

_DSC9927

Lushness.

_DSC9931

Heidi rolling by some clouds.

_DSC9950

A parrot in a tree next to a roadside eatery where we snacked some empandas and tintico (little coffee).

_DSC9965

The area still has a lot of military presence. I think I looked up an incident in which several soldiers were killed in San Juan de Villalobos just the year before by the FARC.

_DSC9969

An exciting Toucan sighting.

_DSC9975

A race or organized ride striking out into the climb while we cruise down.

_DSC0002

The hostel with camping in Mocoa also has a gang of semi-tame monkeys that come around for food.

_DSC0026

_DSC0041

_DSC0050

_DSC0061

_DSC0062

_DSC0063

And the rare photo of yours truly giving one a bit of banana.