So Ive had an interesting week.
In short, I got lost in the jungle, stumbled upon a few campsites with food and a machete which were super helpful, and then finally got out and back to Zamora after 7 days of bushwhacking through a cloud forest.
The longer version:
I got to Zamora kinda late (it was already dark) so I looked up how to get to Podocarpus from the bus station and took off walking. I reached the park after a couple hours, but fell asleep at a river bed because i didnt wana talk to the guards and people there and explain that I was trying to go out and camp in a place where people dont generally camp (luckily it didnt rain).
I awoke to a dutch guy taking pictures around my river digs. We met and went on a short nature hike (he was a botanist!). We parted ways and I took off down a path. After thinking about it on the bus to Zamora, I decided to try to walk back to Sacred Suenos through the mountains. I figured if i could make it through the jungle and to this more alpine boggy area that I would be able to make it. I thought it would take about a week (oh by the way I had absolutely no map haha)
I walked for a few hours on one of the worst paths ive ever hiked. Literally Every 20 meters there was another downed tree I had to climb under, over, around or through, its branches entangled with vines and bamboo stalks. I often felt like a fly in a spider web when I just got stuck in a particularly hairy mess (oh and every few steps I got a spider and spiderweb in my face).
Eventually I found a nice (i thought at the time) river with a dry rocky island in the middle. I decided to make camp early because Iw as exhausted from the night before. For some reason I thought it would be fine to construct a makeshift canopy with my rainfly on a rock and crawl under it (I was pretty much praying that it didnt rain). Well that failed miserably once it started pouring and I managed to put up my tent on some super uncomfortable rocks and dug in for the worst night in the field on this whole trip!
Not much that I could do the next day but walk some more, so I walked some more. I passed a cabin (which I walked by because I thought it was sketchy and like someone was living there. But when I eventually stumbled upon a tent camp which I found some cans of beef stew and some powdered soup stuff. Stoked on my find, I made a big dinner, had a super dry night (even though it poured) and then continued walk the next day. I walked allll day and into the night looking for a suitable flat spot for my tent. Didnt find one until my legs decided for me- to just pitch it on the trail. It worked and I was fairly dry, but another not so great night.
Another hour up the “trail” I found another tent camp! This one with a spectacular view (when the clouds didnt block it) and even better, lots of food! I picked up a few cans of beef stew, some pasta, and chicken soup mix. Best of all though was the machete!! It made the rest of the hiking much easier (less getting stuck in the vines and trees and more fighting them).
I think it was day 3 of hiking and it was still very early so I kept walking up the mountain, still somewhat on track to getting up to a ridge that would take me to the alpine boggy area. I walked that day until I could not find a path that I could fit through. After trying a few different vague paths and coming to terms with the facts that I had no map whatsoever (my googlemaps decided to not even tell me where I was on the map like it normally does), that my phone had died, and that i had lost my watch on day 1 so i had no real sense of time, I accepted my failure and turned around. I had a good night at the 2nd tent camp, then another at the 1st. Then I stayed the last night at the cabin (which was not at all occupied haha). I made a nice fire and dried out all my wet stuff and cooked a whole bunch of food. Then I walked out today and found a hotel (It has its own bathroom!!) I pigged out all night on ice cream and bread and sweets and just relaxed. Ill probably do the same tomorrow and then finnnaalllly head to Peru.