IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
I stared out into the empty plain of the Gran Sabana and thought about my husband, Don. I was glad that I wasn’t with him. He was at that moment climbing a tepui, a rocky, table top mountain. I didn’t want to climb the tepui. I don’t like walking uphill. I don’t like cold or wet places, and I especially don’t like cold and wet together. Sleeping on the ground hurts my back, and I prefer indoor plumbing to more rustic alternatives. And I’m a wilderness wimp. So, instead of hiking a tepui, I went to the middle of nowhere.
Photo Slide Show by Katherine Braun Mankin
The Gran Sabana in the southeastern corner of Venezuela, bordering Brazil, is a high plateau of wide savannah interrupted only by clumps of jungle, shadowy outlines of distant tepuis and many waterfalls. My husband and I were in Venezuela at the invitation of Venezuela Elite, a tour operator offering trekking, biking and cultural trips in the region and elsewhere (www.venezuelaelite.com). While my husband climbed the tepui, I spent a week in the Gran Sabana with a guide and a driver, staying at eco-camps or small hotels (indoor plumbing !), going on relatively easy hikes and visiting the indigenous people of this area. For a week I had the pleasure of looking out at landscapes that stretched endlessly into an uncluttered vista of land, sky and water.