The Itupava trail is a historic path connecting the coast to the highlands of Paraná. For the best part of 200 years, right until 1873, it actually was the only one. Today, the traffic thunders along the highways and while a few hundred thousand Curitibanos choose to go this way to spend a long weekend on the beach, we picked the third of the three days to hike the old one.
The morning started early enough with a bus at 7:26 to the outskirts of the city Quatro Barras, and from there a taxi to the appropriately named Borda do Campo – the edge of the field. Or in our case: the forest.
The hike started easy and we made good progress while hoping for the fog to dissipate. Which it did around the same time that the proper, historic trail started: Stones, carried and laid by slaves almost 400 years ago. Slavery has fortunately long gone but the stones remain, polished by thousands of feed, burst through by trees, disappearing in mud, and grown over by moss.
While the nature in these areas is fantastic – we saw toucans, lots of other birds, frogs and the trees are each an ecosystem on their own – the trail itself is not very enjoyable. As we found out the hard way, the slippery stones offer little to no stable ground to walk on and the steep, downhill parts of the hike became quickly dangerous.
Being forced to descend carefully, it took us much longer than expected to cover the 16 km distance before we finally hit the gravel road again. This left us with an optimistic 25 minutes and still 2 km uphill to cover to the Marumbi train station where we had to catch our ride home. I was as pleased as exhausted when we made it.
All in all, was it worth doing the Itupava trail? Yes. Would I do it again? No.