3-days trekking at Vale do Pati

I had visited the Chapada Diamantina about 7 times since I moved to Salvador, Bahia. However, I have never made the trekking of  Vale do Pati, this time, I decided to face it. I would go with a friend who could not make it because of work, so I left alone with the guide. Our plan was to enter through Guiné, to go to Morro do Castelo on the second day and on the third day leave through Vale do Capão.

I was a little apprehensive because, lately, my right knee was hurting, but nothing very strong. So I talked to the guide André (Chapada Soul) to go slow. Since I was the only person in the group, the pace would be my own. Perfect.

We went up a rather steep trail to a plain where we walked towards the “Mirante” (a top hill view point). On the way, we crossed a small river that was a bit dry, did not motivate us to dive in. Then, we arrive at the famous Mirante do Vale do Pati, an incredible place, surrounded by valleys and mountains. There we stayed for about two hours enjoying the landscape, eating, drinking coffee – yes, my guide made fresh coffee on the trail – relax moment. As I was alone, it was peaceful, I saw large groups passing by. They would arrive, stay for a few minutes, and leave.

The descent of “Mirante” was very steep and then we followed the trail that we saw from above. A line ripping the mountain. Incredibly beautiful landscape. On the top of the  last small ascent, we stop to rest a little and see the landscape from another angle. Little by little, the people from another group arrived.

On the arrival of the house of Mr. Wilson and Ms. Maria, a second after I saw the guide (who was in front) enter the house, I got distracted, twisted my foot and felt. It was a clayey slope. The pain was very strong, could not stand up nor put the foot to the ground. I had to be helped to get to the house. Ice, foot high, bandage. And I hoped to wake up better the next day.

My second day in Pati was all in bed reading a book about the Chapada that the guide Rodrigo Valle Cezar and his wife Vanessa Salms wrote. The time passed by slowly and the pain in my ankle continued. I was tense because the next day I would have to walk out of there. The only other option was mule, but would have to book the day before. I decided to take a chance and see if I would be better off walking the next day. The idea of getting out of in a mule scared me too. I’m big and going up and down the hill on a small mule did not seduced me.

On the third day, after breakfast, I decided have the strength and try to put my foot in the shoe to get out of there. The pain was one of the biggest pains of my life. My foot was getting more and more swollen and turning purple with bruises, it did not fit into the sneakers. It took me two horrible attempts to get it. I walked slowly climbing the first hill. Beyond the horrible pain in the ankle, I also had a pain in the belly of fear of not succeeding it. I agreed with the guide that we would not go up the slope of the Mirante. I wasn’t able to climb it with my hurting ankle. We opted to leave by Aleixo. After the first climb, the trail got better, a bit flat. Soon a new ascent until arriving at Rio Preto. From there, we followed the flat land from Rio Preto. The guide did not know that part of the trail, we followed a path to see if it was, but it was not, we came back… My leg ached, I started to be nervous with this insecurity of not finding the exit. After some time walking on the plains, we arrived on a huge cliff with a steep downward slope. I trembled, freaked out, wanted to cry. I held on, took a deep breath, and yet I thought I could not face it. My guide said that there was no other way out, that he also did not know it was steep like that. What a despair. It was so bad that much of the descent I made dragging myself on the floor, my left leg in the air and seated I used the strength in the arms and right leg. My hands got sore and with cuts from of the plants and hazards on the way. André was worried about my hands. I did not feel anything, the pain was in my left leg. After a long time, we arrived in the plains again. From there, another walk with the road where the car was waiting for us. Since there is no no cell phone signal Vale do Pati, the agency monitored us through the spot to see where we were coming out and where they were supposed to pick us up.

There were 9.15 km of trail in a period of 8 hours. I’ve never walked so slow in my entire life. In the car, the return was a relief, as it was good to know that I had managed to get out of there. The colors of the sky – in the late afternoon – brought me peace. I arrived in Lençóis at night and took the bus to Salvador. At 5 o’clock in the morning, Marcelo was waiting for me at the bus station to take me to the COT (Orthopedic Hospital). There I found out that I had fractured the fibula and had 3 months immobilized to try to recover without surgery. At that moment I collapsed and began to cry. I had hold the crying for three days to put up with the pain and force herself to leave Pati. I remember that on the walk back, the guide told me, “I do not know if you’re crazy or strong to be able to walk like that.” I explained that I was not crazy, that I was strong, that I had done 11 years of ballet and learned to deal with the pain. Even when your feet is  bleeding, we dance with a cheerful face. During a long time of the walk, I had in mind this video (below). It made me strong to keep walking.

Too bad, but that’s how my adventure ended. My next months were with the leg up and at home – a patience lesson. In the future, I’ll have to go back there to complete the trail I left halfway.

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PS: Here is another interesting video about ballet and pain.

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