Why hiking between Paso del Mango and Minca, if you can also run?

Why hiking between Paso del Mango and Minca, if you can also run?

I’m a big fan of trail running, because it combines the beauty of nature with adventure and challenge. While reading another blog about hiking between Paso del Mango and Minca, I got the idea to try to do the same trail, running. I was especially attracted by the promising words: “steep – many turns – rewarding views and eagles”.

Since I’m not a big fan of running downhill, I decided to do this run from Paso Del Mango to Minca. Or more precisely from Finca Carpe Diem to Casa Loma.

Running between Carpe Diem and Minca

Ready for my run to Minca

There were some nice views, oh yes and I defiantly saw some wildlife, but believe me, at around 180 heartbeats a minute, that was not my primary concern.

Beats of love

Armed with 1 liter of water, 2 bananas, and some peanuts, I was ready to leave—a bit nervous, but ready. The first part was really tough; once past the Caoba nature reserve, it goes up very steeply and after the first waterfall (the Cascada Silvestre) steep is even an understatement. There were some nice views, oh yes and I defiantly saw some wildlife, but believe me, at around 180 heartbeats a minute, that was not my primary concern. To be honest, I started to worry that I was not going to make it. I had only started half an hour ago and I was already pretty much out of breath, my muscles were screaming for mercy, and I was sweating like hell.

To be honest, I started to worry that I was not going to make it. I had only started half an hour ago and I was already pretty much out of breath, my muscles were screaming for mercy, and I was sweating like hell.


Running from Carpe Diem to Minca

Encouragements from Carpe Diem guests underway 🙂 – thanks!

Coffee farm in between Minca and Paso del Mango

Coffee farm in between  Paso del Mango and Minca

Waterfall between Minca and Paso del Mango

Waterfall between Paso del Mango and Minca

As it goes in running, you pay cash for those kind off efforts, so I decided to go a bit slower to recover a little, but the gods were gracious, it suddenly started to be a bit less steep and the small donkey path got a bit larger so I didn’t have to concentrate as much anymore on the trail. I realized that fear is never a good counselor and that the heart beats were only beats of love, so I started to go a bit faster again. Born a fool, you’ve got to follow the rule, no?

Armed with 1 liter of water, 2 bananas, and some peanuts, I was ready to leave—a bit nervous, but ready. The first part was really tough; once past the Caoba nature reserve, it goes up very steeply and after the first waterfall (the beautiful Cascada Silvestre) steep is even an understatement. There were some nice views, oh yes and I defiantly saw some wildlife, but believe me, at around 180 heartbeats a minute, that was not my primary concern.

 

There are signs all over the way between Carpe Diem and Minca, so there is no risk to get lost and it is easy to find your way running over the mountains.

While running to Minca I had spectacular views…

To be honest, I started to worry that I was not going to make it. I had only started half an hour ago and I was already pretty much out of breath, my muscles were screaming for mercy, and I was sweating like hell. As it goes in running, you pay cash for those kind off efforts, so I decided to go a bit slower to recover a little, but the gods were gracious, it suddenly started to be a bit less steep.

Also, the small donkey path got a bit larger so I didn’t have to concentrate as much anymore on the trail. I realized that fear is never a good counselor and that the heart beats were only beats of love, so I started to go a bit faster again. Born a fool, you’ve got to follow the rule, no?

The Jirocasaca Waterfall


Daydream

I started to like this run, and even when I passed the coffee farm and it got steeper again, I enjoyed it still. I had found my natural pace and I could breathe better. My muscles were still resisting a bit, but when the mind is fine, you can handle a lot, no?

I kept on going up for more than an hour, at times pretty steep, but the views got only better and I realized what an amazing thing I was doing: running in the mountains, the Sierra Nevada, at around 30°. It’s hard to describe the feeling; on one side you’re flirting with the border of your limits, but on the other side you feel fantastic, it’s even a bit unreal, like in a dream. Most people call it runners high, but here in Colombia it’s maybe safer just to call it a daydream. J

After exactly 1 hour and 45 minutes of up, I got on a “T” where I had to turn right and go down to Minca. At the beginning I was happy to go down, even though my mind still felt good, I started to get really tired. After a while I remembered again why I don’t like to run down—I felt a lot of pressure on my knees and since I was running faster now, I had to concentrate more on the trail. The little donkey path had turned into a bigger road now, but it was still a bit damaged. Anyway, once in a while I could see Minca ahead and that gave me wings. 2 hours and 20 minutes later I arrived in the center of Minca—that was unexpected! I thought it would take me somewhere between 2h30 and 3 hours, so I was quite happy. The plan was than to walk up to where Casa Loma is located a bit higher, but since I made it that far I decided to keep on running. Those last 5 minutes were insane; it got very steep again and my muscles were not accepting the new change from up to down and now up again. I could barely move my legs anymore and I was very happy I didn’t met anyone on my way up, because they probably would have been faster walking, than me, running.


Hostel Lounge in Minca

Arriving at Casa Loma, it looked pretty crowded. Everybody seemed to be relaxing or enjoying the nice view, so it must have been a bit strange to see a guy running up, red face, soaking wet and totally out of breath, but I did see some signs of respect.

3 glasses of water, a shower and a beer -in that order- later; and I got a mototaxi back to Paso del Mango. The ride took me about an hour, so I was really happy about my running performance!

If you decide to go hiking or running around Minca and Paso del Mango, then do not hesitate to contact Finca Carpe Diem! We ourselves are nature lovers and can offer maps upon arrival. Also, check our other activities, so you know there is much more to do than just running  🙂

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