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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Our Treacherous Adventure to Sucre

While waiting to leave Aritumayu after orientation, we received word that the water was too high for us to cross the river normally, so we had to find a different way to leave the Eco-lodge. We had already sent our bigger bags up to meet the bus in a Jeep, but the river had become too deep for it to cross again with us in it. Instead, Veronica led us on a path to find another river crossing and she brought along a board to help us cross. Unfortunately, as soon as we found a narrower place to cross the river, the board Veronica brought got caught by the current and swept away by the water. We luckily found a log nearby that we dragged down the bank to cross the river while Veronica stood in the river to help us across.

After crossing the river with all our day packs, Veronica continued to lead us along the path back to the road along crumbly rocks, stream beds, and 2 aqueducts. Once we got to the road, we hiked up it until we found the bus. We loaded on all our bags and seemed to be in the clear, until we learned that we were going to have to push the bus to help it turn around on the muddy incline. We found tree bark and branches to provide traction as a few people pushed and the rest of us stayed in the bus to provide weight over the wheels. After a few tries, the bus made it up the hill and was able to turn around. Once again, we thought we were in the clear.

The bus was able to make it a few hundred meters along the road before getting stuck again on another muddy hill. Once again, we hopped out and gathered materials to provide traction for the wheels and had several people push the bus. Eoin and Chris helped push the bus and ran behind it to keep up once we got going. After a bit, however, the bus got stuck once again on another hill. We gathered stones to fill in the holes in the road and more sticks for traction, but the bus wheels had gotten stuck and weren’t able to get free of the mud.

We waited on the bus for a while as Veronica headed back down to the lodge to get her brother, who was able to bring the jeep across the river again. He came up to the bus and we loaded in all our packs to be brought up to the main road. Next, he came back and we piled all 13 of us into the jeep. After a bit of a bumpy ride, we finally made it up to the main road and loaded up a new bus to head to Sucre.