The mountains here are hidden within the depths of the tropics of South America. These lands have warm, dry winds that are blowing in from the ocean mixing with a gentle over-pour of the thick, damp air of the amazon jungle. This conjuncture of different climates colliding in the valleys of the Mountains made for a unique environment with animals adapted towards hunting for long periods of time, as is demanded of these parts. As we move forward on our journey through the paramount of Ecuador, the rainy season has begun.
It was starting to be the afternoon. We knew this of course, for the clouds had started to roll in, giving the world a dull and weighted feel. This was almost, as if it were expressing a sigh as the giants of the old time pulled the covers over the earth, Soon it would start raining. We knew this, because it rains every day in the afternoon, that, and thunder was starting to crash. The freezing rain began to slosh down on us, we knew that this was the time to make our decent. We were on a high ridge that we had been traveling on into the folds of the valley where cattle was roaming and started back, on set course. The lightning then started to ring out within a mile radius, slamming into summits peering gently, above our heads. We started to separate by fifty feet to avoid catastrophe.
Note: The fact about lightning is that it’s largely a mystery to modern day scientists, and is still hard to predict. When lightning is striking all around your group, it is vital to separate yourselves so that if lightning strikes near you, it will not take out your whole group. This way, people can focus on saving each other if something should happen.
The lightning was pulling in, and the rain was getting heavier, colder. The clouds thickened. We started passing through different herds of cattle, There were calfs, mothers, but the bulls were not within sight, presumably further down, or up the ridge. We press on. as the clouds start to spill open pouring water droplets onto our heads, a family of wild horses sped past us, moving in the opposite direction. I watched them pass before proceeding. I could just make out my expedition-brother out fifty feet ahead, walking over a bump on the ridges slope. We were heading horizontally, I was the second to last, watching forward as we walked along a small cattle trail carved out some time ago.
The animals we were passing were starting to get skittish, fearful of the lightning just as I was fearing for their comfort, as we continued walking I saw a Japanese-American world-traveler pal of mine. He was particularly skilled at finding different names for the various types of mud we would encounter, such as “Muddy-Buttery Surprise!” which was a mud which looked like dry and solid ground, but when you walked on it you slid from a very sticky, almost hot clay-like texture.
As I was looking forward an angry bull started to run towards him, the bull was clearly fearful from the lightning and our passing didn’t help. I watched it intently and the bull noticed, and settled it’s charge, wary of me. As I passed it by, all the while staring it down, it seemed to become more unnerved and unsure. I figured it would be fine for the person behind me, and put it out of my mind. but as Bince came over the bend in the mountain, the bull in it’s enraged state started to follow him through. It was pissed off, and I shouted Bince over, Alerting him of the bull behind him, and he hurriedly came over to join me. Bince was the sort of fellow who could always make the day brighter and light, as he came over he said to me in a half-joking manor ‘Oh my god, That thing’s scary!’ The bull kept it’s distance, but further up, my traveling party was having the same problem.
We were fifty feet apart to avoid the lightning strikes but we were stopped because enraged bulls had started to challenge us as a group. As the situations on both ends in our troupe was getting bleak. We grouped up together, abandoning lightning protocols in order to become more fearsome to the bulls.
We became one line again, as we continued, the Bulls became unsure of what to do, they were distracted by the lightning, and luckily the cows and calf started to swell closer. The bulls decided that our group was too vast in numbers to be worth demolishing, and they let us pass but continued to follow close behind us, unsure of what we were after. We kept marching through the rain and the cold, and eventually could move into lightning positions again, but it was getting late, and we needed to start setting up camp. Eventually as we began to lose our energy, we found a place to set up camp and start dinner. After we pulled out the tents a group of people went down the valley to fetch water for the stoves, and we were left for a couple hours to settle. Most people went inside, and hid away, from the group and everyone else, and some of us were hanging out. Long story short, we got to view the most amazing sunset I’ve ever witnessed. Fuck.