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Serra Catarinense: A journey trhough Santa Catarina mountains

Originally published on April 24, 2015.

I've never been to the state of Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil, well, that's actually a lie... I've been there when I was a teenager on a high school trip, traveling with friends on a bus on the cold beaches and theme parks. This time was different, I went with my girlfriend (now my wife) to visit her family, they are all environmentalists and fight to preserve the Atlantic Forest, and to be honest they seem to be doing a great job. I had the chance to see the work of NGO Apremavi, which one of their projects is their nursery of native Atlantic Forest trees currently with more than 60,000 trees.

On this little journey, I'm gonna take you to one of our trips, our job was to bring 4,000 seedlings from Apremavi's headquarters in Atalanta up north to the winery of Pericó located in the city with the same name. During this road trip, we pass through the cities of Atalanta, Petrolândia, and Urubici, one of the coldest cities in the country where is common to see the landscape changed by ice and snow in the winter.

Most Atalanta roads are dirt, the city houses around 4,000 inhabitants, and the Parque Natural Municipal Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest County Park). The park is a Full Protection Conservation Unit, very important for the region of Alto Vale of Itajaí, created on June 5 of 2000, and is the first Conservation Unit of the county with 54 hectares of preserved Atlantic Forest.

Many areas of the Atlantic Forest of the region were devastated over the years and replaced by farms. In these pictures, we see farms of corn, cattle, and the worst one: tobacco.

As we travel up in the mountains I have the sensation that we are in heaven, among the clouds, and in contact with all that huge amount of beautiful nature.

The city of Urubici is the highest inhabited point in southern Brazil and home of the only Environmental Conservation Park in the state. From There we go even higher through the Urubici Sierra and the Belvedere lookout towards São Joaquim where I had the chance to see centennial forests of araucárias.

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