Peak Experiences: Santa Isabel and Los Nevados

It started to snow during the first kilometer, which is not what you’d expect, hiking in Colombia.  It wasn’t a soft, New Hampshire, get-out-the-cross-country-skis snow, but a Rhode Island coastal snow, halfway between snow and sleet, that uniquely snot-like texture that sticks to and soaks through everything.  Which is unfortunate since we were wearing 90%…

No Dar Papaya, and The Truth about Juan Valdez

When I was in Russia, my favorite folk saying was, “Don’t hang noodles from my ears.”  It took the place of, “Don’t pull my leg” but provided more picturesque imagery of an obsequious bureaucrat carefully hanging strands of pasta from his boss’ ears, or what 50 years of Communism probably felt like.  In Italy, they say…

Portrait of Medellin

The equator runs through Colombia, so — on a flat map — it looks consistently tropical. But the dizzying heights of Machu Picchu’s Andes don’t end abruptly at the Peruvian border, instead pushing northward, splitting into three fingers (known as cordilleras) of snow-capped and volcanic peaks divided by deep river valleys.  Bogota sits along the…