Posts Tagged ‘mata atlantica’

Esse final de semana fomos para o Parque Estadual Intervales para fazer uma trilha, o mais impressionante foi ao chegar ver que o parque é muito famoso nos Estados Unidos. A maior parte dos freqüentadores são americanos. Como pode, um lugar que fica a menos de 4 horas de São Paulo, que ninguém nunca nem ouviu falar, ser famoso no exterior?

O motivo de tanto sucesso é a grande diversidade de aves. No meio da Mata Atlântica o parque oferece diversas trilhas, cachoeiras, grutas e cavernas e diversas opções de ecoturismo. Uma pena que a gente só tinha ido passar o Domingo, o site do governo do estado não descrevia bem o parque e pensávamos que só tinha uma trilha para fazer.

Fizemos a trilha Divisor das Águas com um percurso de mais ou menos 13 km e com uma duração que pode chegar a 9 horas. A caminhada é longa mas sem muitas dificuldades, alguns trechos molhados e escorregadios mas nada demais. A maior dificuldade foi ao entrar nas cavernas. Foi a nossa primeira experiência e não imaginávamos que seria tão complicado. Na maior parte tínhamos que andar agachados, com água na altura da canela, alguns trechos com o teto baixo e largura estreita. Alem disso tínhamos que iluminar o caminho porque dentro da gruta era um breu só. De uma galeria para outra tínhamos que pular fendas, se arrastar em túneis, escalar mini boulders… Uma experiência desafiadora e muito gostosa.

Certeza que iremos repetir.

DICA

Para você que gosta de aventuras:

Parque Estadual Intervales Monitor R$ 50,00 por dia.

Hospedagem no parque? R$50,00 por dia.

Sai ônibus da Rodoviária da Barra funda para Capão Bonito de lá você pode pegar um taxi o custo médio da corrida é de R$70,00.

Para mais informações sobre essa e outras trilhas: http://www.saopaulo.sp.gov.br/conhecasp/principal_conheca anos.

Well, yesterday was quite eventful here in Brazil. We were planning to go with the guys from the Casa de Pedra gym to go rock climbing at Salesopolis so we got up early at 6am to meet them at the gym before setting off (it’s about three hours or so outside of São Paulo).

Got there 15 minutes late and there was nobody around so we called our colleagues to see what had happened (it’s not as if these guys are the most punctual in the world)… Apparently Fabio had tried calling me and had got through to another Benjamin (like there are so many people with this name in Brazil who also go to the gym…) who said that he wouldn’t come and had left half an hour ago with the cars all divided, so there was not really a chance of getting a taxi to catch up with them. Needless to say I was pretty annoyed as this training is important to us and both Natalia and I had been looking forward to this.  This will teach us not to be late at least, but (again, needless to say) we might have a couple of words to say to Fabio on Monday as well when we have our training session… but I will stop there as I will get irritated thinking about it! There will be plenty more climbing trips coming soon.

So we had to do something else because every day is pretty valuable to us for our training. We tried going to the main São Paulo bus station at Tiete to go to a place for a day where we could go for a hike in the country, but unfortunately all the busses left too late and all the journeys were too long, so… we decided to go back to the Mata Atlantica park to go on a hike there. I might have complained a little about it being a bit easy but it is good for going up and down hills, and seeing everything we did last time certainly made up for that.

And it didn’t disappoint. We first went into a park just below the main entrance to our hike; had a relaxing walk around there for an hour or so (quite heavy rucksacks as well because of all of our climbing and photography equipment (this time I had the memory cards as well!)), seeing the kids playing football whilst at the same time seeing turtles swimming around, herons, capivaras (not sure what this in English, but a photo is to the right in case anyone does know!).

Then, when we got to the trail, almost the first thing we saw was a family of four or five bugio monkeys, including a baby, making their way through the trees above us. Always nice to see them, and always nice to get a couple of pictures, and it was pretty good seeing a few families of these monkeys as we walked on up! Up the trail, we also saw a family of around seven or eight Coatis – Brazilian aardvarks – members of the raccoon family (I thought that at the time as we had seen raccoons at the Iguaçu falls and they looked quite similar, though good ol’ wikipedia confirms!). They were just lurking by the side of the path, occasionally getting quite close to us and hanging around in the trees. Aside from this, a few more butterflies, lots of ants, and other creatures such as a strange hanging caterpillar (I think – again, a photo is below – no idea what it is really) as well as fruit such as pineapples and guarana. No more bug battles this time, however.

The trek lasted for about six hours or so and we ended up at a lake at the midway point, which was also nice to relax by. So overall in spite of the pretty abysmal start to the day, it all worked out quite nicely in the end.

Hope you like the photos! Abraços.

The Pedra Grande hike is a 9.5km walk through remnants of the once massive Mata Atlantica tropical and subtropical forest that currently covers about 4,000 km2 of land in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, though is estimated to be about 88% smaller than it used to be before human settlements really began to grow, particularly along the coastline of Brazil. In the middle of the hike, high up over the city, one can see the massive contrast between the forest and the grey and white urban skyline in the distance.

The São Paulo environmental website described the walk as a “high difficulty” hike. With that in my mind, I imagined that there would be tricky trail going through the forest, maybe a bit of climbing here and there up rocks to get up sections and altogether a bit strenuous. I was a little disappointed that the hike was on a tarmac road about 3-4 metres wide (no cars though apart from park staff) so it was an easy “trail” to follow.

What made it difficult was that the first half of the trail was almost entirely up quite steep hill slopes, so I guess that this helped with our leg muscles. And it was quite good training carrying reasonably heavy rucksacks up it. Furthermore, it was still great to be outside of the city and breathe much nicer air free of all the car fumes. It was great to be able to hear the sounds of the forest, see the butterflies, spiders and various creatures that lurk around. It was made all the more impressive that one of the first things we saw as we began the trail was the fight between the Wasp and a Spider – it was all by chance as we saw a couple of others looking at the struggle, and though at a small-scale, it really showed how tough nature could be even in a pleasant environment such as this. I am not sure if we would have seen it otherwise as we would not have known what to look for, and we would have been looking to the trees, trying to see monkeys hanging around.

There are a few other trails which can be done in the same national park as Pedra Grande which are well worth doing: On the way back down, we ended up doing a few of these extra side-walks and probably ended up walking a total of 15km by the end of the day. Going towards one such hike, after passing by a Chinese guy who was singing China opera at the top of his voice, and a few groups of foreign tourists, we eventually got to the Trilha dos Bugios – the Bugio Monkey Trail, which was along a nice dirt and rocky track and immediately made me happier (in spite of the blood thirsty mosquitoes, but we can’t have everything, can we..?!)

We didn’t really expect to see anything as we thought that if we hadn’t particularly enjoyed the singing, then the monkeys (who aren’t the biggest fans of us humans) would most likely have been terrified. But a few minutes into the walk, with only the sounds of the forest around us, we eventually heard some movement in the trees. With a little bit of looking around, we could see a couple of Bugios sitting and swinging around high up in the branches. After a while we could even hear the noise they made as they ate fruits and nuts. Quite a nice way to bring the day to the close.

The one point that was extremely annoying was caused by myself: I left my camera memory cards at home. A good point to remember is what Norm describes in his backpacking tips: preparation! And this was certainly something that could have been double checked. For this, I apologize – the quality of the photos from the video camera is not the best – regulating the light and focus is all automatic so there was no real control over it. But at least there is a good excuse to go back. Next time, I won’t forget anything – I promise!

The Bugio monkey at the Jardim Botanico, Sao Paulo

São Paulo is such a huge metropolis, it is difficult when living here to really imagine there being much green countryside out beyond the mass concrete jungle. Hiking here is something that well, we haven’t really done much at all in the past four and half years since I moved here. What we have been doing are things like walking the 9km back from work, though there are so many cars around, our lungs feel like screaming by the end of it.

There are also some pretty nice parks such as the Jardim Botânico, which enters into the edge of tropical rain forest and is home to animals like the Bugio (or Howler) Monkeys, and Parque Ibirapuera which is home to well… thousands of city dwellers who pass through it every weekend (okay okay, I will try and be nice: it is an enormously popular and massive park in the Southern Zone of the city, which has some nice walks by the lakes and through the trees, with plenty of flora and fauna to see when the crowds let you. Like Hyde Park in London, concerts are often held there as well).

When you do a bit of research into it, however, there are actually quite a few such trails just outside the city, and it will be nice on Sunday when we get out of the city to do a good 10km hike up in the mountains.

Okay, many of the best hikes in the state are a couple of hundred kilometres away: learning to drive is high up on our agenda so we will be able to rent a car and get to these places rather than depending on busses. However, just half an hour or so outside the city limits there are the Serra de Cantareira mountains – apparently the home to the largest urban forest in the world (remnants of the once massive Mata Atlântica rainforest) – and also home to plenty of hiking trails; then there is a good hike down the old road to Santos.

The contrast between the city and the forest (Trilhas de São Paulo - http://www.ambiente.sp.gov.br)

This is where we will be doing the Pedra Grande hike.

It isn’t the longest hike in the world, but apparently it is quite tricky with some steep inclines and difficult terrain. It is a start, and we will be doing a hike pretty much every weekend now as we need to get into good shape for the Bolivian mountaineering expedition. We need to carry pretty heavy loads in order to get used to the backpacks we will need to wear in Bolivia.

The São Paulo state government has actually got quite a decent site showing good hikes in the state, and the Pedra Grande trail is just one of these.

Eventually after doing a few of these hikes in the next few weeks, we want to go to Pedra do Sino in Teresopolis (Rio de Janeiro state) which has a good 18 hour trek and spectacular views – it will be great to get the tent out! And also treks in the Parque Nacional de Itatiaia, there are some good mountains taller than 2,000 metres, including the Agulhos Negras peak which reaches up to 2,791 metres. Again, it will all be good and essential training as being in the city and the gym is quite limited.

We will probably save these treks for long weekends though: Easter is coming up so that will be a good opportunity, as getting there would be an adventure in its own right, with a good six or seven hour bus ride just to the town. But ah well! Needs must!

Little lizard at Jardim Botanico - not an uncommon site in the city in general

Top down at Ibirapuera

Across the lake at Jardim Botanico