Hike Manizales

 
Fresh juice served right before the trailhead at El Ciclista. 

Fresh juice served right before the trailhead at El Ciclista. 

To the many miles to come...

To the many miles to come...

A map showing Via al Cerro de Oro. 

A map showing Via al Cerro de Oro. 

If you head outside of Manizales past the neighborhood of Milan and continue along Via el Cerro de Oro, you'll find a small rural area called Buenavista (translation: Good View - and for good reason). You can take a taxi all the way to Buenavista to  maximize your time on the trail, but expect to pay an additional fee for driving out of the city. Once you hit the end of Via al Cerro de Oro right outside of Buenavista, a hiking and mountain biking trail begins, just past the BMX park. When you walk past a small outdoor cafe called El Ciclista, you're very close. The trail is not terribly difficult nor terribly easy; it's not perfectly maintained, but if you can make it to the top, you'll be glad you did.

My first time up this trail, I was the last one up - huffing, puffing, sweating, and struggling to keep up. Can I blame the high altitude? Can I blame the fact that no matter how fit I seem or how many workouts I do in a week, I just positively suck at hiking? Can I blame the humidity? Can I blame the deadlifts the day before? Probably, but I'd be missing the point. 

Hiking is brutally honest, and there's no deceiving it; the trail knows if you haven't been on it in a year. No matter how many How to Hike articles you read, the only way to hike well is to hike often. It's a challenge in dedication, like so much in life. And isn't that the worst sometimes? Having to work hard to get good at something, particularly when it appears to come so naturally to others? Some days, it can be painful to embrace growth. It can hurt to stray from what is easy and natural. Hiking teaches me this; traveling teaches me this; living abroad teaches me this, and learning another language definitely teaches me this. And so, when I returned to tackle this trail again - with a pack on and in the rain - it actually felt easier; turns out, the pain was worth the buena vista.

 
Comment

Ashley Peak

Teacher & traveler seeking bright sides and adventures. I recently left my position as a Title 1 middle school teacher in Spokane, WA for a position in Manizales, Colombia teaching English and Geography at a bilingual private school. I'm passionate about education in action, the power of literature, and traveling the world. Optimism Rampage is a place for me to reflect on the adventure. “Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. see the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.” -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451