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Honduras: Celaque

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Celaque | Honduras | Americas

[Visited: January 2005]

From Belén Gualcho, I wanted to climb Celaque mountain in two stages. The first stage, to Chimís Montaña, I wanted to do after the Sunday market. Unfortunately, the weather seemed pretty terrible, and I decided to wait for the next day. The walk to Chimís was faster than I had anticipated, just over 3 hours, a beautiful hike, through changing landscapes, with views of unspoilt nature, sometimes passing through farms and their terrains. I met a few people on the way, who always were very friendly, who stopped to chat with me. At one moment, I wondered if I was on the right track, and stopped at a farm surrounded by pigs, cows, dogs, chicken, and out came an old lady who lived there alone, in her private valley. When I asked how far it would be to reach Chimís, she looked at the sky, said, it is 8.30 now, and you should be there at 9.30. Both were almost exactly correct! I wanted to take a guide in Chimís, I asked several people, and they all told me the same story: the guys that normally serve as guides, were all down for weeks to help with the coffee harvest. But according to them, the path leading over the mountain was not too difficult to find, and although the weather seemed to be turning worse, I decided to take my chances. I still had plenty to drink and eat.

Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Honduras: path from Belén Gualcho to Chimís Montaña

The first hour, I went very fast, which made me feel good. The sun came through, and it seemed to become a beautiful day. I made a left turn as I was told in the village, but after a while, I lost track of the path. I thought I found it again, but at some point, I found myself struggling up the mountain through absolute, almost impenetrable wilderness, in which seemlingly solid trees broke off like a match when i leaned against them for support, where the earth sometimes opened below me as my feet stepped on it, in which lianes tried to strangle me, in which my hand disappeared several times in spider webs. I had arrived in the real cloudforest of the Celaque. I was climbing on hands and feet, on my belly, literally inching my way up, just hoping to find the path again on the top of the mountain, which was shielded from view by the enormous trees. This struggle took more than an hour, and when I finally reached the ridge, I thought to have refound the path, which unfortunately was not true. I had set myself a time limit, and fortunately I was wise enough to stick to it. And when it was there, I regretted it, but I knew I had to go back. It would even be difficult to find my way back to Chimís. Everywhere I looked, it was green around me, above me, down, left, right, there was a huge, green wall, blocking anything from my sight. On the way down, my trousers were torn open, I was completely full of earth, blood, bruises, scratches, as I worked my way down the mountain, hopefully in the right direction. Then, suddently, I heard cracking of wood, and I stopped to see if I heard voices. It happened several times, I stopped several times, and the last time I heard ... a cow! I saw it running past me a little later, and I was extremely happy, because I knew cows don't live in the jungle but belong to farmers. And indeed, as I followed the traces of the cow, the trees seemed to open up, the sun came through, and suddenly, I saw the mountains, a farm, and the valley below me!

Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Honduras: the trees formed a solid, green wall all around me

Four women living at the farm showed me the way down, and by now, I was so exhausted that I had to force myself to walk back to Chimís. I had nearly finished my water, so I was glad to be back in Chimís. I ended up staying at a large family's house, had a very typical dinner with beans, tortillas, and cheese, and slept very early. The next day, I was realistic enough to walk down the mountain to Corquín instead of giving the Celaque another try, as I was left without water, and apart from that, my legs were destroyed from the hours of heavy climbing. I will have to wait for another occasion to see the peak of the Celaque.

Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Mount Celaque: close up of vegetation
Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Mount Celaque: crossing many small rivers
Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Mount Celaque is a primary source of water for Honduras: another river
Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Mount Celaque: looking towards Cimís Montaña
Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Celaque: church on the way to Cimís Montaña
Picture of Celaque (Honduras): Celaque: cow rumbling in the forest which made me happy

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Celaque (Honduras). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Celaque.
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