In the Cloud Forest, Cocora valley, Colombia
I don’t know where time has gone since the last post – it seems to be racing past at a faster and faster rate. So, here follows a belated follow-on from my previous Colombia post last autumn. Time does give perspective and a heightened appreciation, however.
The Cocora valley is stunning. Starting from the Colombian traditional tourist town of Salento, a half hour jeep ride takes you to the car park and trail head. The jeep is a fun ride – they leave town when they’re full – which means 2 passengers up front, another 6 squeezed in the benches in the back, and another 2-3 standing at the back. Luckily, providence smiled and we had the seats up front – which still meant holding on for dear life as we cornered – the side door being a sheet of thin plastic. For who-knows what reason, the jeeps are known locally as ‘Willys’. They are reconditioned 1950s ex-US army jeeps and function as taxis and general everything-transport.
This is the heart of Colombia’s zona café – the coffee growing country. Coffee and avocado farms line the lower slopes. The town is at around 6000 feet turning the tropical climate temperate, although it is often wet. We were blessed with the sunniest of days – but once we had climbed up to the cloudforest it was, well, cloudy. Clouds and mist came and went, teasing us with fleeting views of the surrounding mountains, clad in lush vegetation.
The mountains rise from here to the permanently snow-capped summit of the Nevado del Quindío, at 4750m (nearly 16,000 feet).
The Cocora valley is home to the otherwise rare wax palm, the world’s tallest palm tree, growing to a height of 150-200 feet. These the strangest looking trees I have ever seen – like something drawn by Dr. Seuss! They were heavily logged in earlier times to the point of being endangered, but since the 1980s the valley has become a natural reserve and the trees protected.
The trail wound up through the palms and into the cloudforest of much thicker, lush vegetation. You’re at about 8000 feet here and plenty of breathing-stops were needed before we arrived at a high point (top photo). Clouds whipped past, thunder crackled ominously around the hills, but we only needed waterproofs for a sharp 5 minute shower before the sun returned.
It was a rare treat to be here in this place. The natural energy flowing down the valley from the mountains is incredible. To be somewhere with this level of natural energy is truly awe-inspiring and uplifting. It makes us very aware of how depleted our land is here in the UK. The level of development is, as yet, very low key and rustic, and long may it continue that way.
Moringa, and Energy
My apologies as this post now turns into something of an advertorial. However, its all part of the journey of conscious awareness.
When we with the indigenous people in the Sierra Nevada we learned of an initiative where they are growing Moringa on the lower slopes. This is a traditional tree from India and has been used for centuries as food and medicine. Its one of the few ‘complete’ plant proteins , meaning it contains all the essential amino acids for humans. Its also incredibly high in antioxidants and generally good for most parts of the body. Studies show it having a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetics (of up to 30%). Its also been shown to lower those blood lipids considered harmful (ie ‘bad’ cholesterol) due to its natural plant stenols as well as being very beneficial to the liver.
The oil is also highly nutritious for the skin and hair. A little goes a long way and has a rejuvenating effect, feeding the skin whilst being smooth and non-greasy.
What impressed us however was the vibration of this moringa. It is grown on sacred land by the Arhuaco, and they grow it with an attitude of prayer and reverence for Mother Earth. Just holding the packet of the dried leaf powder we could feel the energy level (we are both rather sensitive to these things).
With one drop of the oil, we straightaway felt our energy field expand and lift. It really was a strong experience. We brought back a little of the precious oil which we have been using as a meditation aid and an energetic ‘lift-me-up’.
We decided there and then to import this into the UK. This benefits everybody. The plant and oil are highly beneficial to us, whilst earning money for the indigenous people. This enables them to purchase back their traditional lands and aids them against mining exploitation. The people otherwise have no need or use for money.
Finally, we have our first batch, and a new website. Our experience with this has been very strong, and genuine, as outlined above. If you’d like to learn more, go to www.nutrasoul.co.uk