The Santa Rita lagoon is a magical and unexplored place that is located in the bowels of Cerro Caramanta, western mountain range of the Colombian geography.
The Santa Rita lagoon was discovered 27 years ago because of a plane crash in 1979, in which there were no survivors. This is undoubtedly a majestic place, the hidden gem of the natural reserve Farallones del Citará.
Located at more than 3,700 meters above sea level, the Santa Rita Lagoon becomes one of the great attractions for walkers and nature lovers in Southwest Antioquia.
To reach this body of water it is necessary to make long journeys between ferns, coffee plantations, bushes, suspension bridges, river crossings, ascents and technical descents that make this route an extreme adventure.
Due to the level of requirement of the altimetry and the high degree of difficulty of the terrain, this journey requires having a mountain and survival team prepared with the awareness that needs to safeguard life before the power and strength of the mountain.
For this, it is necessary to reach Andes Antioquia the night before departure in order to plan the route with other expedition members, prepare the equipment, which must be complete and light, socialize feeding and hydration tips given the ruggedness of the adventure and finally to define departure time.
Our expedition to Santa Rita lagoon begins at 4 a.m. in the main park of Andes, there we take a chivero that will take us to the Hacienda La Soledad, point where we begin to enter the mountain.
We started to walk at an altitude of 1,630 meters, little by little we began to climb through bushes to reach a peak where dawn begins to dawn, there the sun greets us and the immensity of the cliffs of the quarry invites us to open the soul and the body to 3 days of natural immensity.
The adventure begins when we arrive at the river El Silencio and we must pass a suspension bridge to which the years and oblivion have made it become synonymous with danger when crossing it.
After crossing this bridge, we face a strong ascent between ferns and bushes until we reach the moss heights.
In this high the vegetation already begins to change, it is a humid and copado forest to which almost the rays of the sun do not enter, the height is of 2,800 msnm and its atmosphere is of freshness; there we took the opportunity to take a break and start the walk again.
Once rested we began to walk with the aim of reaching the river El Silencio again for lunch and start the final stretch of the day.
The road became increasingly difficult because there are no paths, the jungle becomes more rugged and to overcome the difficulties of the entire tangle, it is necessary to resort to the intrepid spirit of the adventurer.
Climb, crawl, hang on vines, get entangled with the branches, endure the visit of the constant hot breeze that reigns in the tropics and hold the campaign case; undoubtedly gives an extreme profile to this adventure.
It’s 1:00 p.m. and we are in the river El Silencio, the group has walked a lot and we are adjusted to the planned itinerary. The idea of arriving at this time was to make the multiple crosses of the river before a flood was presented, the goal was achieved.
There we had an Antiochene lunch and we took the opportunity to rest for an approximate period of 20 minutes; the body began to feel the effort and fatigue of the day, however, the team was in good condition and was already psyched to reach the camp before 6:00 p.m.
We crossed the river several times, many of them with water at the waist; We faced a road full of climbs and descents, precipices began to appear next to what apparently was a road and finally we reached the last crossing of the river.
There we were supplied with water to have in the camp, which increased the weight of the suitcases.
We started the ascent to Desconsuelo, a hill with a positive slope of 800 meters, without a doubt it is the biggest test of the expedition, the wild vegetation, the swamps, the precipices and the weight of the suitcase make that in this ascent one take out forces of where we have it, thus becoming an ascent symbol of will and resistance.
Once we managed to ascend this hill we arrived at the base camp called “La Señal” which in past years was the heliport used to rescue the victims of a plane crash in 1979.
There we set up the tents, we changed our clothes, we ate and we got ready to rest after the effort of 12 hours of walking along 15 km of wild and wild jungle.
All night it rained and the cold was extreme, however, thanks to an adequate mountain equipment we were able to sleep moderately comfortable.
We woke up at 5:30 a.m. to see the sunrise, from this point you can see much of the southwest of Antioquia, the immensity of the Farallones del Citará and feel like a neighbor of the clouds, since they, along with the wind, pass through your eyes, your nose, your ears and remember that to live you only need to want to do it.
Once we saw the sunrise, we had breakfast and began the ascent to Cerro Caramanta located at 3,831 meters above sea level, a road full of frailejones and bromeliads that make this ascent a paradise. Arriving at the top we find the fuselage of the damaged plane; to heaven a prayer and we continue our way to the top.
When arriving at this summit we could see in the horizon part of the Colombian Pacific from one front, and from the other the Antioquia southwest.
Undoubtedly the best thing about getting to the top is to receive the gift of immensity, there we saw the Santa Rita lagoon, which with its magic and magnetism invited us to come down to feel the cold of its existence, the greatness of its beauty and silence of its truth.
We made a descent which is very technical and swampy, we enjoy a landscape full of frailejones and pajonales, there at this point is where one recognizes how small we are in the face of natural beauty.
Finally we reached the Santa Rita lagoon and received the prize for two days of effort in the high mountains, the lagoon is magical, its surroundings are full of mountains decorated with an enigmatic haze that greets every soul that goes there to meet, its aroma It is a peace and the only noise that is felt is that of silence.
Being in front of this hidden beauty and conserved by the power of nature is inevitably a fantastic experience, there we shut up, we meditated, we surrendered to the mountain and we gave thanks to life for existing at that moment.
Once the lagoon was well known, the soul was full and our hearts were happy, so we set out on our way back to the camp to rest and finish this second day as God intended: with good food and talks with friends.
The next day we woke up at 5 a.m., picked up tents, cleaned the camp and started the return trip; we no longer felt the weight of the backpack or the fear of the precipices; for a happy soul never thinks of what may be wrong, but of what has been right.
Finally we arrived at 4:00 p.m. to Soledad and the adventure was coming to an end.
OTHER PLACES TO MAKE TREKKING IN COLOMBIA
Amante de la montaña, el café, los libros y buen bailarín. Soy una persona alegre que le gusta disfrutar al máximo la locura de vivir, que cree en el amor como el único camino hacia la plenitud de la existencia.
Me gusta respirar y también correr un poco, algunos lo llaman trail running, yo diría que trato de practicar la libertad.