Spending a night in a nest and live the feeling of waking up 25 meters from the ground in the canopy of an oak older than 100 years, surrounded by a huge variety of animal species and hundreds of nature sounds, is one of the most beautiful experiences we’ve lived.
At 10 a.m., time when we were inside the park admiring the scenery from the lookout, despite the drought and the exhausting summer that stroke all over Colombia as a result of El Niño, the mist rose from the depth of the forest, something gorgeous to see. That day has been excellent, being in the Chicaque Natural National Park, as usual we took our time because everything matters; every sound, every smell, every color, every time our skin touched the vegetation. We took photos and videos, we filled our lungs with fresh air, and after a brisk walk we enjoyed a small snack immersed in the woods.
We planned to spend two days and one night. The first day we hiked to Pico del Águila (Eagle peak), Las mariposas (The butterflies), Dos quebradas (Two ravines) and then to the refuge. What can we say of this trail: it requires a medium-low level of effort, it is really very enjoyable and while there are some steep parts in which your heart rate can speed up a bit –but not that much–, those are not exhausting but invigorating, anybody can do it.
Chicaque is also an ideal place for bird watching and encountering various animal species that inhabit the cloud forest. We consider ourselves privileged people, we had the opportunity of seeing a few species of bird and a boruga (a spotted paca), which in that moment we didn’t know what it was. Stefano thought that is was a wild rabbit, I said it was a chigüiro (a capybara), but later the park guide explained to us that it wasn’t neither of those, it was a boruga. After getting to the refuge, where we were able to have lunch and rest for a while, we proceeded with the registration to let the guide know at what time we wanted to do the ascent to the tree.
What we liked the most was Pico del Águila, from where you can have a spectacular view of the Tequendama’s region, and the zip-line, it was very fun to slide on a cable 340 meters long at 100 meters above the ground, we wanted to do it again. It was also fun to listen to the group that went before us, there were some mothers in it and one of them, a little afraid and almost repenting, ended up yielding to the persuasions of her excited children, it was a funny view.
After a bit of excitement we went for a walk on the colonial path, but since we already had planned to climb to the nest soon, we didn’t do all of it and we went back to the refuge, anxiously waiting for 5:30 p.m.
Finally the time came, the night was falling as we walked to the tree, the woods were getting darker and they disorient you while you get used to the darkness, at the same time the night refreshes you and it slowly heighten your senses.
When we got to the tree is was already dark, the guide gave us what we needed to spend the night and the security equipment to do the ascent, among those things I have to say that there was a “portable toilet”, or a potty for adults with a bag of sawdust, if you had to use it you just needed to cover everything with some more sawdust. The guide asked us if we wanted it, because a lot of people were embarrassed to use it, but we don’t have those problems, of course we brought it on top, you never know when nature calls.
Indeed we were finally in the nest.
We did the ascent on suspended stairs. We got in and looked at each other, indeed we were finally in the nest. After a few instructions from the guide, he went down and we started to prepare everything to spend the night: mosquito net, blankets, sleeping bags, comfortable clothes, flashlights, repellent and of course the “portable toilet” –we couldn’t miss it–. With everything ready we set out to watch the night and the beautiful view we had from our privileged position, in the distance we could see the lights of Bogotá. Stefano took a few pictures but he was not satisfied and we went to bed. We were happy to be there, at the top, for a few hours away from any thought, just focused on each others and on the sounds of the woods, we talked for a while until we almost fell asleep.
There are things in life that simply are what they are.
I really don’t have words to describe the next morning, there are things in life that simply are what they are, and as Stefano says “they still don’t have an explanation”. Maybe one day we might be able to express the greatness of our emotions, reactions and experiences, in the meantime I’ll just say that we were satisfied and happy to be immersed in that moment.
The second day passed by very slowly, without rush we descended the nest doing rappel and we went to have breakfast at the refuge. We did the trails we didn’t do on the first day, like the waterfall and the Roquedal (the rocky place), already going towards the exit to go back to Bogotá.
How to get there?
- During weekends there is an express service from “Terreros” TransMilenio station managed by the park, in Soacha. It costs 5.000 pesos (about $1.60). We suggest you to go with the 7 a.m. one, and come back with the 4:30 p.m. one (timetable).
- During week days you have to take public transport from “Terreros” station. Get a colectivo to the area in Soacha known as “El Áltico”, it’s 1.000 pesos (about $0.32). You can take one of these companies: SOACHA COMPARTIR, SOACHA CIUDAD LATINA Y SOACHA SIBATÉ. Get off at the station “MOBILE El Áltico” (ask the driver) and take another colectivo to Funza and Mosquera (company COOMOFU). Ask the driver to leave you at the turn of Chicaque and walk 35 minutes to the entrance.