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31 July 2013 / leggypeggy

Beating the fog in Chapada dos Guimarães

Chapada dos Guimarães

What view? with Colin, Julio, Naomi, Gemma and Poor John

Chapada dos Guimarães

Oh, that view!

Remember the freezing weather we had the other day? We arrived in Chapada dos Guimarães in mid-afternoon. There was plenty of sun and the town was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Then the heavens opened, the winds picked up and the temperature plummeted to what felt like 0°C (32°F), but was probably about 8.

Julio, an English-speaking guide, came round before dinner to tell us about a great walk we could do in the nearby national park—only eight kilometres of not-too-rough terrain, a bunch of waterfalls and some good for swimming. Hmm! Tempting (except for the swimming), but we all wondered what the next day’s weather would bring.

Chapada dos Guimarães

Rugged up against the weather at the first waterfall

Chapada dos Guimarães

Gemma is first to take the plunge

Chapada dos Guimarães

Colin and Naomi follow suit—in their suits

How about equally cold temperatures, wind, drizzle and an extremely dense fog!

To go or not to go? That was the question. Five of us decided it couldn’t get any worse and it might get better, so we grabbed umbrellas and waterproof jackets (thanks for the loan, Ashley) and set out.

We hired a taxi to take Julio and us to the park entrance. Even though we offered to cram into his Peugeot, the driver insisted on taking us in two batches.

Each trip was 25 minutes one-way so it took us a while to get started on the walk, but it took our minds off the crappy weather.

Julio was a great guide. We had to laugh. In his ‘day’ job he’s the unexpected combination of a lawyer and a gardener. He said he doesn’t like lawyering much anymore, but is very fond of the outdoors.

His gardening enthusiasm and knowledge shone through on the walk as he explained many of the plants, their flowering and growing cycles, and medicinal properties. Of course, I don’t remember any of the particulars now so don’t rush to me for pharmaceutical assistance in the jungle.

Julio knew about wildlife too, but we saw only wasps and giant ants with bulbous red heads. I remember that the ants don’t bite, but the wasps have nasty stingers.

Early on, we stopped at what should have been a beautiful lookout, but the fog was thick. So we headed down to see the first waterfall. On our return the fog lifted a bit for the only time that day and revealed glimpses of the view. No doubt it’s much more impressive on a sunny day.


It’s not a picnic without ants

We had our ‘picnic’ lunches at one of the falls, and three brave souls went swimming. Gemma was first in, followed by Colin and then Naomi. They said the water was warmer than the air, but I sensibly forgot to bring my bathers along so didn’t have to test their honesty. I really do love to swim, but I really don’t like cold water.


The wasps looked harmless enough

After visiting all the waterfalls, we finished off with Pedro’s Cave, which meant a trip down a lot of steps and a careful walk over slippery surfaces.

We got back to camp after 5pm and found everyone sitting in the truck, where they’d spent most of the day. The fog was 10 times thicker than it had been in the park, and it was rainier and windier.

So we made a good call that morning. And I got an added bonus. It was my night to cook, but my cook group mates, Ashley and Alex, had the ingredients chopped and ready to go, and Robert had the fire blazing.

P.S. According to the news, the temperature in Chapada dos Guimarães has been 34°C (93°F) for the last two days.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Prayaan India / Aug 3 2013 8:17 pm

    Very nice pictures and glad to see you guys enjoying…


    • leggypeggy / Aug 4 2013 5:55 am

      We’re having a wonderful time and look forward to travelling with you later this year in India.


  2. turkeytonorway / Aug 6 2013 5:49 pm

    At least you can’t lose Dad in the fog in that jacket 🙂
    Lib xx


    • leggypeggy / Aug 7 2013 3:09 am

      Hahaha, you’re right there Lib, although he still manages to do his dematerialising act quite regularly. 🙂


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