Monday, March 28, 2011

Up the waterfall, down the cornfield

Yesterday Fernando and I did a hike up the waterfall. It was a steep fall littered with rocks, but I am from the mountains myself and I grew up climbing rocks like this. It was fun and challenging, but as we climbed we recognized it would be much more dangerous going back down, and we were a hell of a long way from an emergency room.

So we decided it would be safer going down the milpa beside the fall. A milpa is a cornfield, so how dangerous could that be?

Well, that´s what we were thinking.

The milpa we came out on was on a slope that was well more than 45 degrees. The corn had been burned away in the traditional slash-and-burn agricultural style. Every step I took sent loose black earth tumbling far down to a cliff to the waterfall below.

Fernando went around a corner, and I couldn´t see him. I called, but he didn´t answer. For all I knew he´d gone over a cliff on the other side.

Finally I came around; the milpa on the other side was just as steep but had more tree branches to catch yourself on. Fernando was a couple hundred feet below. So I slid down as carefully as I could on my ass, getting a load of tierra negra down my pants.

So if I ever do it again, I´ll take the rocks. I can´t think of anything crazier of climbing a slope that steep.

Okay, one thing: planting a farm on it.

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