Saturday, June 18, 2016

I met Brazilian Tarzan, and everybody hates him

We arrived in Floripa on a Tuesday. Our mentors were kind enough to ease us into the swing of things, only calling us into the lab a few times to help us get acquainted with the walk there, the other students in the labs, etc. As the work week came to a close, one of our mentors (who would like to remain anonymous for the sake of receiving future MHIRT students) asked us what we would be interested in doing that weekend. We told her that we'd like to spend some time outside sight seeing. She then, ever so graciously, invited us along with her on her trek that she was going on that Sunday. It'd be great she said, we'd get to see Lagoa, the sane dunes where sand boarding is popular, and three beaches, Joaquina among them. She wanted us to take a look at the Facebook group, Trilhas e Costões, and the event posted to make sure it was something we were interested in. She'd also have to check with Mario, the group leader, in order to make sure that it wasn't too difficult. 
We went home that night we looked up the group on Facebook and saw that all the hikers were middle aged and considered that enough research to decide we'd be capable of the hike. We're young, we thought, we've hiked before, it'll be no problem. Off we went, meeting in Lagoa at nine, for a nice light hike, with a few snacks packed without lunch because we figured we'd stop somewhere in have lunch. We were in for a surprise. 

Beautiful Lagoa, an enclosed lake in the middle of the island. A popular spot for nightlife. 

It was then that we were introduced to Crazy Mario, in all his shoeless, red speedo in 60 degree weather, clad glory. We were to begin with a walk to the sand dunes where upon arrive Mario said "if you are to be safe with me, you are to be shoeless." So, shoeless we went. 

What we soon learned about Mario is that there was no path follow on his treks. He was also absolutely enamored with finding the most difficult way to travel from point A to point B for no apparent reason at all. It is for this reason that when he would lead us some crazy way all the trekkers would collectively say "everybody hates Mario!"
For example, in the picture below you'll see a giant sand dune that we were instructed to climb via bellows of "let's gooooooooooo" when there's this nice little rim around the side, a perfectly good little path I would've much preferred. 

After about an two hours through the sand we arrived in Joaquina beach, where we thought we'd get a chance to look around and explore. Instead, Mario directed us straight for the rocky shoreline. We had a quick lunch and then began what would be five hours of trekking along the rocks, unbeknownst to us. You see, the problem with Mario is that if you ask him when we'd be leaving or where we were going, if you could even get the question out due to not speaking English, he'd just lie to you and say that we'd be finished shortly. Well. We definitely weren't prepared and the middle aged Brazilians kicked our butts for sure. The whole time all I could think about was how if we placed our footing the wrong way then we'd die and that be it. I was, of course, being a bit dramatic and complained my way through the whole trek just fine. The sights were absolutely breath taking and it was not a day I'll soon forget. Below are some of my favorite picture along the hike. 

In all honest, it was definitely the most exhausting day I've ever had, but to see a side of Florianopolis that most of the locals never get a chance to see was truly priceless. 
Below is the outline of the trek one of the hikers posted afterwards. It helps me not to feel like such a baby! 


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