DE UNA Colombia: The Reunion 

Dec. 30, 2021 - Milena Forero 

After all the chaos brought on by the pandemic, we were in search of sharing with our coworkers in a space other than work. It was already a tradition for us to have different experiences, such as trips or dinners at the end of each year, but the previous year was not possible. Seeing the opportunity to get together and be in nature, a year-end trip to the Chingaza National Natural Park was scheduled. We all went on the trip, those who had always been there, those who came back after being away from the company for a few months, those who live in the Coffee Region, all came for this reunion. 

Hiking in the Paramo  

The trip to Chingaza took place on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 of December. Early in the morning we met at the office, distributed ourselves in different vehicles and headed to Guasca, the municipality through which we would enter the park for the first hike on the Lagunas de Siecha Trail. It was a spectacular encounter with the paramo ecosystem, where it is possible to see the frailejones, emblematic and primordial plants, since they are responsible for capturing moisture from their environment to store inside up to 25 times its weight in water, filtering it and making it suitable for human consumption. In addition to the diversity of flora, 3 lagoons were observed during the trail: Suramérica, located at 3,350 m.a.s.l.; Fausto, at 3,750 m.a.s.l. and Siecha, at 3,800 m.a.s.l.; a place of great significance because it is sacred territory, where the Muiscas made pilgrimages in homage to the water.


After 4 hours and 6 km walking, we returned to the house of Mr. Avelino and his wife Leo, who were waiting for us with a traditional ajiaco with chicken. After lunch, we left the park and took the road to La Calera to enter the park through the municipality of Fómeque, a journey that took approximately 3.5 hours; on the way we saw wild rabbits and deer. Once at the lodge, we had a night barbecue, where the company of everyone and the joy of the moment generated enough temperature to not feel the cold of the paramo. After a good meal and a lot of laughter, we went to bed around midnight, looking for enough rest to get up early on Sunday, as we had one more trail to walk. 

Las Plantas del Camino Trail is of historical and cultural importance, because it was the route used by the Montfortian priests to evangelize and found villages in the region. Its difficulty was less than the previous day and it was possible to see traces of Andean bears, as well as a diversity of flora. The objective was clear, to reach the viewpoint, but we did not expect the view to surprise us as much as it did: the Chingaza Dam, also known as the Embalse de Chuza (Chuza Reservoir), located in the middle of the mountains at 2,990 m.a.s.l., provides drinking water to 80% of the population of Bogota and stores 220 million cubic meters. 

The end of our meeting   

On the way back to Bogotá we stopped at the Palacio Mine, a place of limestone extraction between 1920 and 1990, the main raw material for Cementos Samper S.A., and although it is outside the boundaries of the national park, it is now part of its recovery area. To end the experience, we had lunch in an Italian restaurant located in La Calera.

This was, without a doubt, a great experience, which not only allowed us to share time together and connect with nature, but also left us with a significant reflection on the importance of the páramo, an ecosystem that allows the reduction of gases responsible for the greenhouse effect such as CO2, besides being a nucleus of biological diversity, of such relevance that the Chingaza System has a RAMSAR designation: it is a protected area by an international treaty that safeguard water bodies vital for the survival of humans and other species. Chingaza is a privileged treasure for Bogotanos and for the world.

DE UNA Colombia Team