The Pati Valley is considered one of the most beautiful treks in Brazil because the trail passes mountains carved with pink quartzite, covered by rainforest with rivers and waterfalls.
The route is inaccessible to vehicles because it is in vast areas of cerrado (vegetation of the Brazilian countryside) and there are interesting hills, for example the Morro do Castelo (Caste Mount), this area is populated by only 50 families.
In the past, the Pati Valley was a traditional coffee producing area and it had about two thousand residents. The Pati Valley was my first big walking trail and I heard about this place for the first time when I was on a boat trip in the south of Bahia.
Years later, when I got to Lençóis, the gateway to the Chapada Diamantina (National Park), I was divided between the three day trail to the bottom of the waterfall (Cachoeira da Fumaça) or the five days trail through the Pati Valley to get to Capão.
The people who were in my hostel formed a group of 16 people going to Pati and I decided to join them. Our guide was an Argentinian called Augusto extremely energetic, speaking rapidly about the places we would visit.
I joined this group without even an idea what was waiting for me. I thought to myself it will be easy because I had walked the Serra do Cipo (National Park) before. But, it was very different.
To start, the group of eight men, six were from São Paulo who had been to the Chapada Diamantina several times and they wanted to walk the trail at a fast pace. Of the eight women, five were foreign, who came to Brazil for the trekking and they had experience in trekking in Africa and Australia. The rest of the group, was made up of inexperienced people like me, a girl from São Paulo (she looked like a ballet dancer, who accompanied her boyfriend) and a totally crazy Italian (who walked the trail wearing an old pair of All Stars and she didn’t complain about anything).
There are many different ways to navigate the Pati Valley (perhaps the most classic is from Capão to Andaraí), but our route was from Guiné to Capão, from west to north.
We took a private transfer from Lençóis to Guiné, after a tough climb, we reached the first plateau, with Morro Branco (Mountain) still far away.
We passed the fields of Gerais to Rio Preto, where we had a delicious snack time with sandwiches and juices at the river bank. In the first night we camped next to a cave, which was transformed into a rustic and lively tavern for dinner that night.
I lost the game (rock, paper and scissors) to the Italian and I had to share a tent with two of the big guys, who snored all night: a result, an ear ache and I went to the doctor at the end of my holiday.
The second day I was partly deaf, but excited about the amazing waterfall called Cachoeirão (over 200 meters fall) that we would see from the top. It was raining, but it was still amazing. The walk started getting hard after the Cachoeirão (waterfall) and the weather was getting better. When we got to a place called little church it was sunny.
In the late afternoon, we reached a high point where we could finally see the Pati. We ran to get to Raquel’s house before sunset. Raquel is a local that offers accommodation.
Again, I lost the game (rock, paper and scissors) and now I had to sleep in the living room on the floor instead of sleeping in a bed in the room. That night, the group became more united. Augusto (the guide) prepared a delicious meal on the wood stove, with Brazilian drinks (caipirinhas) and Brazilian music (forró). Some girls and I went to sleep, but the boys and the French girls partied until sunrise.
The third day started with adrenaline: I had to cross several rough rivers, hold some ropes to climb into a cave and finally we got a view point located on the top of a rock, where we saw the whole majestic Pati.
We walked down the mountain again and we went to a place called City Hall (actually a small communal house) still with a stock of rum, consequently another happy hour happened.
Only on the fourth day, we could see the group tiring because of the mix of parties and the hard walks. Simply all the girls, except for the Italian and two of the boys said that they couldn’t continue. It was a mess because we had to divide the group and they called some transport for those who gave up.
I decided to stay, but I knew it would be tough because now only the Italian girl and I were the inexperienced ones. In fact, I was very tired, my knees swelled enormously, because there was a lot of mud and slippery stretches. My luck was the several waterfalls – the beautiful waterfall Calixto – and we stopped for a swim, which gave a power to my joints. I finished the fourth day exhausted and I slept very well in the cave where we set up a tent. The snores of the guys didn’t bother me at all.
The fifth day promised to be light and it was. We saw the Capão far away and we walked towards it, where the walk was easier. When we arrived in Capão, we celebrated it with beers and pastries.
The Italian girl, whose All Stars were destroyed was received back in Lençóis by the other girls in the group as a survivor.
We had a party in the evening to remember the moments of this crazy, beautiful and intense hiking.
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