Brazil Minas Gerais - El pico da Bandeira

Brazil - Posted On

Rhythm change:

Getting back on my feet, again.

My objective for the next 2 days is the 3d highest peak of Brazil, 2890m, El Pico da Bandeira. As the two highest are too far away up north in the jungle, I'll have to stay happy with this one.

Well protected by the boarders of a national park, I have to pay a fee to enter (too bad for poor people who would like to enjoy the beauty of it, especially in Brazil), leave my bike at the gate (while cars are permitted to get halfway up, please explain!), and, most unfortunately, my wing also, due to some others unexplainable rules of the park. Weather conditions seemed to be so good, I am a bit sad but other flights will follow anyway.

I will be alone in the park for the 2 days, the whole mountain just left to me! Going by feet seems so much lighter and silent comparatively to the bike on the road. I love it!

Some little waterfalls play with the relief creating centuries after centuries, somewhat Australian people call 'Billabongs' (waterhole) where bathing seems unreal as the spot is just stunningly beautiful.

At night, I get attacked by aggressive bugs, and get my food stolen by a wild duck. Tranquility and landscaping, welcome!

At last, the top. What's particular with this mountain is it position out of other sierras, contrasting with the comparatively lower and flatter landscape around. It's like a big fat spot in the middle of the face. This allows me to keep staring for hours in the morning at the northern country I have crossed by bike to come here, as well as the southern I have to go through to get to Rio de Janeiro. I can even see the sea, maybe 200kms away, it's beautiful!

To fly in the area, I have to get out of the park toward Alto Caparoa. There, Vaval, landlord of the local takeoff offers me hospitality for 3 days, time for me to appreciate plainly this awesome valley covered of coffee trees.

Thermals are just perfect; they give good smooth lift without propelling me out of space as some people warned me before. Careful under these tropical latitudes at 2pm inland! I think I could easily go by flying to the nearby Pico del Bandeira, but it might not be nice for negotiation for local flying in the future.

One hard day, an email stops my heart. Brian Wickines, 25 years old pilot from Rio de Janeiro, friend of Paulo I met in Arraia d'Ajuda, who were supposed to host me there, has did in a paragliding accident. With strong conditions, electric lines, hand handicap to give the right correction, bad luck or destiny have done the rest.

Without knowing anything about me, he invited me in his house, that's enough to deeply regret what happened to him... and secure even more my flights.

My right foot hurts quite badly, on the right side. Friction with the sandal material puts the skin bloody red, salt of my sweat uses down my damaged skin. But afternoon showers ease down the pain. Bah! With time, everything gets better, no?