February 11, 2016
I am in the town of Pichari with my colleague Juan Carlos Chaparro. The weather is fine: no rain, no clouds, and it’s not cold. We woke up this morning under a plastic tarp at 2,000 m in Camp 2, where rain and chilly weather have been constant for days. We had coffee, rice, and beans cooked on a wood fire for breakfast. We departed in our wet and smelly clothes for the town of Pichari.
We have been in Camp 2 since Monday and many things have happened in these few days.
All attempts this week to connect with our satellite communicator had failed. Reception is poor in the forested steep slopes of Vilcabamba. I tried to connect from partial clearings in the forest, from the ridge that leads to Camp 2, and from Camp 2 itself, but it did not work. Finally I decided to take a two hour hike down the hill to a confluence of rivers near Camp 1 and was able to connect last Sunday.
Santi Castroviejo and I left Camp 2 under heavy rain; we hiked down the muddy track to Camp 1. By the time we got to Camp 1, my computer was swimming in water at the bottom of my backpack. I had placed the laptop in a plastic bag that has resisted many days of hard work, but a tiny hole was enough for an inch of water to go through and stop the computer from working.
José Padial and his team of researchers are traveling to the remote Vilcabamba mountains in Peru in pursuit of biodiversity research. He blogs and sends photos as often as possible capturing his expedition along the way.