Hikes to the south of Medellin always suit me well as I live at the southern end of the city and so heading in that direction means I don’t have to travel into the centre to meet the group, instead they pick me up not far from where I live along the route to our hike’s starting point. This means I can get up a little later and I arrive home earlier, which as I usually have to give an English class at 06:30 on Monday morning is an important plus point.
Fredonia, the town we were heading to, would not make my list of places to visit either, however, Marsella, which is about 9 kilometres further along the road from Fredonia is small, peaceful and picturesque, while Venecia is also worth stopping at if you are in the region. The prettiest town in close proximity to these, that is definitely one to make the effort to visit, is Jerico. Take the road from Camilo C Restrepo to Fredonia, Marsella and Puente Iglesias and on crossing the bridge over the Cauca, go up the other side of the mountain to Jerico.
Having reached the bottom of the valley we then had to climb up the other side, though it wasn’t too hard or too hot. Having almost reached the summit the next stage of the hike was a traverse around the side of the mountain, and there were some stunning views across the next valley towards Fredonia and the peaks of Cerro Bravo and Cerro Tusa, both of which I have climbed on previous occasions.
The climb up Cerro Tusa is hard, though well worth the effort as the views from the top are spectacular. The descent is complicated and best done squatting down and controlling one’s speed by digging in the heels of your hiking boots. Cerro Bravo is also worth climbing and is not as strenuous as Cerro Tusa, while also affording breathtaking views. We could also make out in the distance the town of Aguadas further to the south in the department of Caldas. I stayed in Aguadas when I did the nine day trek from Envigado to Manizales in 2014.
We stopped for lunch in the refreshing shade of a pine wood and then descended into another valley. This part of the hike was quite treacherous as the carpet of dry pine needles created an extremely slippery surface and there were many tumbles as we made our way gingerly down the slope. Fortunately nobody was hurt as the pine needles also provided a soft landing, though it would have been easy to twist an ankle.
The last stage of the hike was a climb of about 45 minutes through a coffee plantation and then along a path laid with stone that wound its way up to the outskirts of Fredonia. That final section was somewhat hard, but by 4:15 I had arrived in Fredonia and had the opportunity to rest for a while as we waited for the remaining bunch to finish the climb and the subsequent departure of the bus back to Medellin. All in all it was pleasant and sufficient exercise for one day.