Showing posts with label Colombia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colombia. Show all posts

The Tale of Kayakers Held Hostage in Colombia

At the end of March a team of professional kayakers, led by Ben Stookesberry, set off to make the first descent of the Apaporis River in Colombia. The 700-mile long waterway is remote, wild, and largely unexplored, which is of course the allure of an expedition kayak team. But, 19 days into their journey, the team encountered a challenge they did not expect, a run-in with the rebel forces known as FARC, who eventually took them hostage.

Outside Takes Us to the Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Looking for an engaging read to keep you occupied heading into the weekend? Then look no further than Outside Online, where you'll find a great piece by Jason Motlagh that takes us into the "World's Most Dangerous Jungle."

In the article, Motlagh travel to South America to explore the infamous Darién Gap, a 160 km (100 mile) long and 50 km (31 mile) wide stretch of land between Panama and Colombia that has remained remote, wild, and completely untamed for centuries. A haven for drug-runners and rebel guerrillas that are a part of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Gap is known for its thick forests, murky swamplands, and twisting rivers that have all conspired with one another to make it a nearly impassable barrier for those traveling through what is best characterized as one of the most impenetrable places on Earth.

Just how challenging is it to cross the Gap? Consider this. The 30,000 km (19,000 mile) Pan American Highway runs nearly unbroken from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. I say mostly unbroken, because the one stretch of road that has never been completed is the section that is encompassed by the Darién Gap. That isn't to say that it can't be crossed however, as a 1960 expedition led by Land Rover proved. But it took the team 136 days to do so, covering an average of just 201 meters (220 yards) per hour.

Today, the Gap is also a major highway for smugglers looking to move immigrants across South America and north towards the U.S. Unfortunately, the way through the jungle is incredibly difficult, and many who enter never come out the other side. Over the years, explorers, journalists, researchers, and even adventure travelers have been swallowed up by the jungle there, never to be seen again. To say that this is one of the most dangerous places in the world would be an understatement, which is why it remains utterly fascinating as well.

Motlagh's story is a long, but incredibly interesting one, as he travels into the Gap to meet with FARC officials and to witness first hand the human trafficking that takes places there. His tale provides some perspective on this unique place, and just how difficult it is to travel through. It will also give you some idea why most people who travel along the Pan American Highway avoid it altogether, choosing to take a ferry around the jungle instead.

Read the entire story here and ponder what exactly it must be like in this dark, dangerous corner of our planet.

Video: Meet the Hippos of Colombia

In 1980, drug lord Pablo Escobar brought several hippos from Africa to his compound in Colombia. It turns out that the environment there was very similar to their natural habitat, and the creatures adapted quite well to their new home. But later, when Escobar was finally brought down and taken in for justice, the animals were left to their own devices. Now, they are cared for by a local conservation organization, and they continue to thrive in the South American jungle. This video tells their story.

Video: Mountain Biking Through A Colombian Salt Mine

Professional mountain biker Marcelo Gutierrez knows what its like to push boundaries on his bike, but for this video he really took things to a new level. In shooting this clip, Marcelo went deep underground to ride through a subterranean salt mine in his home country of Colombia. His route started above ground in a small town, but eventually plunged under the Earth, where it came to and end in a spectacular unground cathedral. As you'll see here, it looks like it was quite an experience.

Video: Flying Through the Trees at the Panamericano Mountain Bike Race

Ever wonder what it is like to be a mountain bike racer on a tricky downhill run? Than have a look at this video, which is a POV shot of Marcel Gutierrez taking part in the 2015 Panamericano Cota held in Colombia. To say there is little room for error would be an understatement as he blasts down a narrow trail at breakneck speeds, dodging trees all the way. This is scary just watching this ride, I can't imagine actually trying to do it myself. If you're looking for a shot of adrenaline today, this will certainly provide it.

Video: Downhill Urban Mountain Biking in Colombia

I always love a good mountain biking video, especially ones that show a rider zipping through some unbelievable setting. But I also have a soft spot for videos like this one, where some of the world's top riders take on an urban course lined with fans as they ride down stairs, across cobblestone streets, in and around buildings, and other unusual obstacles. In this case, we follow World Cup rider Marcelo Gutierrez as he bombs his way through the streets of his hometown of Manizales, Colombia. As you'll see, the ride is a wild one, even though it goes directly through the heart of the city.

Video: Meet the Summit Adventure Team

This video is an introduction to the Summit Adventure Team, a squad of adventure racers from Colombia who are preparing to compete in the Adventure Racing World Championships that will be held in Ecuador in November. The video is beautifully shot, and serves as a nice intro to the sport of AR as well. The landscapes that the team are racing through in this clip are simply spectacular, and will inspire you to run, ride, and paddle yourself. Truly an excellent AR video.

Summit Adventure Team from realtape on Vimeo.