The Kalu Yala Blog

Best. Hike. Ever.

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July 16, 2012

by Samantha Hartwig
Posted In: Adventures in the Tropics, Animal Science

Day 54 – “Vacation Day”

Today I decided to take one of my five allotted vacation days and hike out of the valley a day early.  I soon regretted this decision as I was not even 10 minutes into the hike.  You see, the first 25 minutes hiking out of the valley consists of a river crossing, and a straight shot up the mountain.  This particular hill is known as “suicide hill” if that gives you any inkling as to how much fun the first 25 minutes are.  I was praying to God that I could make this hike out with it being the first time I’ve had to carry my heavy hiking bag.  After making it up the hill I was convinced that I was dying.  I was dripping with sweat and it seemed as though my entire body was about to quit on me.  I looked over to the dairy farm on my left and saw a couple of familiar faces.  One being Tomas, the construction worker who had given Kelsey and I a ride into the valley one morning early in the semester.  I gave them a wave hello and was continuing on my way when the dairy farmer asked me a question.  Now would have been a good time for me to know how to speak Spanish.  I tried my very best to understand what he was saying to me.  He reached into a cooler and I was assuming he was offering me some water.  Nope.  He pulled out a syringe and a vaccination bottle of some sort.  Any other non Spanish-speaking American would have probably freaked out and ran away at this point but I finally understood what this guy was saying to me.  He wanted me to help him vaccinate his cattle!  This was so exciting for me after spending a year working on a dairy farm back at school.  I felt almost at home with these guys and they could tell I had was comfortable around the cows and had done vaccinations before.  After finishing a set of cattle, we thanked each other and I went on my way.  I was probably 15 minutes into my hike only to be stopped by the man who owns the small grocery stores in San Miguel.  He sent me back into town with some bread and candy.  I know mom, don’t accept candy out of a car from a stranger, but I couldn’t resist.  I thanked him and started back down the mountain.  I had made it to the last river crossing and finally the pavement.  What a feeling of accomplishment!  I was on top of the world and was stopped yet again by someone!  This time by a taxi driver named Eliott.  He asked if I wanted a ride, and I was about to politely decline, but before I could speak he told me he’d give me a free the rest of the way into town.  Best. Hike. Ever.

So now I have been inspired to post all of the pictures I have taken of cows, or anything having to do with cows during this internship. Enjoy!


Puppy Love




Cattle Crossing in the valley


Milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated? What!?!


Teaching the kids of San Miguel about butter and milk during Arbol De La Vida

One Response to “Best. Hike. Ever.”

  1. Kate says:

    I love this!! SO cool that you helped vaccinate cattle– so totally random and very Kalu Yala :)