The road to Kuelap rivaled the one to Karajia - narrow, winding, perilous and twice as long. The small towns take it upon themselves to make speed bumps to slow down passing vehicles, it's hard to imagine anyone would go any faster than 10-15 mph on these roads, almost every house has chickens, ducks, pigs, donkey, sheep, goats and/or kids to watch out for. Occasionally, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, far from any towns were multi-talented women walking along, tending sheep while spinning wool.
We arrived just a couple hours before dark, after looking around for a while and only scratching the surface, we decided to camp in the empty parking lot and do more exploring in the morning. It rained all night, we were relieved that it stopped in the morning so we could walk around. And we were pleased that it was clear the previous day to see the amazing views before the clouds took over, a common occurrence, this may be why they’re called the cloud people.
Kuelap is an enormous stone fortress built high on a mountain top about 1000 years ago. The walls are filled with stone to make a big platform with hundreds of houses on top and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. It’s said that more stone was used to build Kuelap than the great pyramid of Egypt. A select few have faces and animals carved into them… finding them was like a treasure hunt.
The meandering outer wall has been cleared to see the immensity of it, about 2000 feet long and reaching 35 feet in height in spots. One of the houses on top has been restored to it’s original state to demonstrate what it would have looked like when it was bustling with activity, some of the houses are in the process of being excavated, and some of it is still completely overgrown. Almost every house has a grinding stone, a fire pit, and what looks like a cistern for storing water.
It’s fascinating to go in the houses and walk the trails and think about what it must have been like 1000 years ago.