Our last week in the Valle de Cauca didn't come with any surprises, which is good...we were getting tired and didn't want to do anything too crazy. Jim and I did hike up to launch 4 times in 7 days, a couple of them in really hot sunshine. I had some really nice flights as well, just nothing record breaking.
The hikes up to launch were always entertaining...depending on the day, we would see fog, rain, or sunshine as we climbed up almost 3000 feet up to launch. While we started at about sunrise, it was usually still pretty warm, especially down in the valley in the still air. The road took us through a few vineyards. The Valle de Cauca in Colombia is sort of the Napa Valley of this country. They do produce a lot of wine, sadly not of a great quality (yet) but they have the quantity down I think!
Some days it would get hotter as we climbed though, and then the 2 bottles of water we carried didn't seem like nearly enough. Usually by the end it was cool and cloudy on the mountain, we liked that much better. Once we walked through substantial rain, but we kept moving and even in minimal clothing we were still warm enough. (Yes, we flew that day too).
A couple of times we recruited some friends to join us for the early morning start. Hugh, Matt and Marge were willing to get up early and eat our breakfast of fruit while it was still dark. They also pushed the pace, and one day I made it an interval workout (I was the one carrying my gear and struggling to keep up). That day I finished in 2:40, when it usually takes me about 3 hours to make the 9 mile climb!
We've also been known to run into a few dogs and a smattering of cows. My favorite thing to look for though, are the butterflies. We saw some amazing ones of many different colors. My favorite is always the elusive big blue ones. I couldn't get any great shots of them, but try typing Blue Morpho Butterfly into Google images. The photos on there will amaze you. Here's a sample: