Following my trek to Thailand in 2007 see here I am participating on a similar challenge in Brazil
A brief description of my trip.
17th June - Meet Lynn from Northern Ireland who lives in Edinburgh for overnight hotel at Heathrow
18th June - 4.30am meet rep and rest of group, Julie then Roxy then the three lads Michael, Craig & Steve followed by Laura and Caroline. Nearly 15hrs of travelling on the plane via Madrid and we are met at the airport by our guide Christian. We follow this with a four hour minibus drive north of Sao Paulo to the home of Marcelo and his office of his trekking company Trilha Do Ouro Here we stayed in two bunk rooms and everyone was eager for some sleep.
19th June - Wake up to the beautiful surrounding of Brazilian countryside and a school across the road. We had to sort our stuff out and just take one bag to cover 4 days trekking and the remaining gear to go Paraty where we will spend the night after all the trekking. After a short transfer by bus to our next bunk house we set off for a small walk! A fairly easy walk with a lunch stop by the river. Steve, Michael & Christian went into the freezing water for a swim. Today we encountered the first of many makeshift river crossings! At the end of the walking we spent the night having dinner and then beers by the campfire made at the end of the lake outside of the bunkhouse.
20th June - The biggest days trekking of the trip approx 25kms. We set off from the bunkhouse with our rucksacks, the rest of our stuff was carried by mules pretty much along the same paths as us up to our camp/bunkhouse for the next two nights. It was hot and hard going in places, I felt like I was going slower than normal but Christian told us at the end of the day that as a group we were quicker than most. We had a couple of stops along the way including a lunch again by a riverside. As we approached the end of our walk we took a slight detour to catch sight of the nearby waterfall from a distance.
21st June - Just a short walk form the bunkhouse to visit bottom of the waterfall. This involved going through steep woodland paths and down a rather muddy path to the very wet bottom of the waterfall. At the waterside Christian, Caroline & the lads entered the water and swam over to the very bottom of the waterfall. Craig only got so far and then it was far too cold for him and he came out shivering. I didn't go in as I didn't want to get my hiking boots wet AND it was FREEZING! After that we came back for lunch and spent the afternoon lazing about in the sun on the hillside.
22nd June Another all day trek approx 18kms along a ex official path used to export mined gold. We walked a different way from the bunkhouse crossing the river first. After a short walk along the hill paths the fast paced ones went ahead with Marcelo and the rest of us kept a decent pace behind. The path was like walking on cobbled streets but with very large cobbles. You had to look down all the time as it was quite slippery. At the finish we were welcomed at a house with a balcony and given a hot lunch even though we had stopped for a sandwich earlier. We were even treated to a glass of wine. At this stage my legs felt like they couldn't go any further but we did have to walk to our transport to Paraty.
23rd June Kayaking after a short transfer to the beach we set going with just what we needed for two nights sleeping on the coast and three days kayaking. I shared a kayak with Luciano who was from the trekking company. Kayaking is Christian's main job and we were also joined by Marcos who built the kayaks. A gentle ease into kayaking with just under an hour before our lunch stop. At this stop we took a short walk up to see a small waterfall and saw some hillside holiday homes. Another half an hour kayaking until our stay for the night in tents alongside a locals house. Before having a shower I had a quick swim and beer outside a bar/shop along the beach. The local was a fisherman and his family cooked us dinner.
24th June In the morning we were visited by a local handicafter who makes things from wood including Canoes. He demonstrated a small canoe to us from scratch. We kayaked for and hour and half before lunch. At this lunch stop there was a bar and we had a few beers/caprinhas between us. After lunch a further hour and we reached our beachside rental accommodation for the night. Here we had a kick about with a ball on the beach and a brief swim. A night of beer around the beach campfire.
25th June One more mornings kayaking left. Today was a little overcast and was raining a little. We took a short break mid morning at a lovely little beach where we despatched the remaining bottle of wine we had packed between us all. As we set off for the last stretch the sun came out again. We passed a bar on the side of a little island. There was a group of us ahead of the rest and Luciano & I were racing Julie & Craig to the beach right by the centre of Paraty. Once all back we walked through the town back to the place we had previously stayed for a shower. After lunch we set off for the 5 hour journey to Rio. En route we stopped at a roadside stop where they had a TV showing the end of Turkey v Germany in the semis of the Euro Championships. Dinner was at a restaurant in Rio followed by beers on Copacabana.
26th June Rio - We were taken by bus up to the Christ the Redeemer statue, and then on to lunch in a Santa Teresa restaurant. After this I took a trip on the metro to the Maracanã Football Stadium. Back in time for dinner at another restaurant followed by a bar/club with live local music.
27th June Rio - packing bags ready for journey home, a bit of shopping in the morning close to the hotel. Then Christian took Roxy & I up to the Sugar Loaf mountain. Two cable cars took us to the top, got back in time for the airport transfer for flights home.
As I will be self-funding this trip (inclusive of £100 donation) ALL your donations go direct to the Willow Foundation
Bob Wilson started the Willow Foundation following the death of his daughter Anna at the age of 31 having being diagnosed from the very rare form of cancer, malignant schwannoma, at the age of 26. To hear Bob talk about the charity and collect a cheque from RedAction please go here
In February I met up with fellow Willow Foundation challenge event fundraisers at Arsenal's Training Ground for which I wrote an article for The Gooner published in issue 184.
Bob says "It's just fantastic that Sarah has decided to undertake this trek and kayak challenge in June for the Willow Foundation. It may be a wonderful opportunity to visit Brazil but involves a lot of hard work and we are so appreciative that she is going to raise funds for our charity in the same way that she raised funds for Leukaemia Care during her trek in Thailand last July. So thanks Sarah and good luck from everyone at Willow. It was great to meet up with you at the Challenge Events get together at the Arsenal training ground. Glad you enjoyed the tips from Gary Lewin."
As you are reading this think about what you do in life that you enjoy. What do you look forward to? How do you treat yourself? Think about doing all the things that you enjoy. Well now imagine that you a suffering from a illness. Imagine how much more of a morale boost such a treat would be.
For further infomation about the Willow Foundation see their website
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Many thanks for your support.
Included in cheque to Bob for £685
Ian £10 Adam £10 Marco £20 Collection at Catford Wanderers £60 Michelle £30 Theresa/Frances £40 Sean £10 Jesper £42 extra money during ticket sales Rocket £1.50 Acqua Sports Company 10% discount £13 on basic kayaking course Wayne £50 Collection at RedAction Rocket End of Season Party £135.25 Maria £40 Gooner_ed £10 Monica and Andy £5 John £10 Maz donated in exchange for a photo of a certain Arsenal supporter in his football kit!! £30 Mary £35 Pat £10 Mum ebay profit £10 Desy £2 Albert £5 Mark Smith £5 Random bloke outside Wig & Gown Sat 2nd Aug £5. Rick £20 Interest in savings account 6.25. Mick Moffat £20 and myself £50
£100 own donation part of balance passed to Willow via Charity Challenge
The Comptons charity account cheque £50
As you can see from the photos back from the fantastic trip and all in one piece just about. For the best of the trekking and kayaking photos click on any of them on the left. For ALL my photos click here
Whilst I was in Brazil Bob was at the Palace collecting an OBE