Parque Santa Emilia

Lashae and I were invited to go on a hike through Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia one Saturday with an adult English class from Belén de Umbría. The park is located about 20 minutes from Belén. It has a nature trail through a dense forest that leads to a few waterfalls.

We met in Belén in the morning and hopped on motorcycles to drive to the park. The group ended up being 14 in total. After signing in at registration at the lodge, we met our guide for the day who showed us a map and explained some details of the hike. He said it would be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours each way.

The park lodge at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

The park lodge

Our guide at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Our guide

We began the hike on the trail along a stream. It was slight uphill for about an hour. Along the way, the guide found a maracuyá tree (passion fruit) and picked a few for the hikers.

The beginning of the hike at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

The beginning of the hike

Maracuyá right off the tree! at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Maracuyá right off the tree!

The next hour was a difficult but rewarding hour uphill. I was exhausted and had to stop a few times for some long breaks. After that was a half hour of difficult downhill. The path was a bit deteriorated with fallen trees and some slippery spots. It got a little dangerous at some points. The guide was using his machete to clear away some of the vegetation along the way.

A steep downhill climb at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

A steep downhill climb

Maneuvering over fallen trees at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Maneuvering over fallen trees

We found a small waterfall and stopped there for lunch. The water was freezing cold and it felt good to wash my face. We were able to drink the water as well.

Our lunch spot at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Our lunch spot

We continued on for another half hour to the main waterfall. We had to climb 10m up a rope at one point.

Marisol climbing up the rope at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Marisol climbing up the rope

When we finally reached the waterfall, it was very tall but not what I expected. I think the waterfall at our lunch spot was nicer. We weren’t finished – we still had to climb up to the waterfall.

The waterfall at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

The waterfall

Unfortunately, the path up to the other levels of the waterfall wasn’t a path at all. We had to climb up a very muddy hill holding onto trees and rocks tightly or risk falling. We had to make a human chain at times to prevent each other from slipping and falling onto the rocks below.

A human chain to go up the hill at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

A human chain to go up the hill

At the end, we stopped for a group picture in front of the waterfall, had a rest, and made our way back to the lodge.

Kodak moment at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Kodak moment

I went ahead of most of the group and hiked back to the lodge on my own. I was able to enjoy some of the nature along the way, such as exotic flowers and plants.

A stream at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

A stream

Birds of paradise at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

Birds of paradise

A gigantic leaf at Parque Municipal Natural Santa Emilia, Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, Colombia

A gigantic leaf

Once back at the lodge, I laid down and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. We all rode back to Belén on the motorcycles. I got bit by a stray dog while riding back and ended up having to get rabies shots. That was a nice souvenir to remember my day at Parque Santa Emilia.

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