10.07.2008

Ciudad Perdida

Whew! We just got back from a 6 day hike into the jungles of Columbia, where we crossed the Buritaca River 9 times in seach of the elusive Ciudad Perdida (Lost City). It being the rainy season, we hiked in the mornings while it was sunny (mostly) and then (mostly) took it easy, chatted and swam in the afternoons while it rained. Our group was good, 4 kiwis, 1 scot and Chris and I. We all got along great, as well as pretty much hiked at about the same pace. Our guide, Wilson (fitting) was great, but only spoke Spanish, so those of us who spoke Spanish had to translate for those that didnt. It was actually great practice for my Spanish skills.

The hike was very difficult. Every day we went up a huge muddy hill and back down the other side of it, to end up campìng near the river. The next day we would do the same. It was about 85 degrees most of the time, with a humidity of about 98 percent, much like hiking in New Orleans would be if they had any hills. However, although we did have to carry our own bags, we did not have to carry or make our own food, so it was not as hard as it could have been. Nothing like carrying 20 cans of tuna on the Patagonia hike!

We arrived at the Lost City on day three and got to explore it a bit in the afternoon. It is massive! However, only about 10 percent of the city is uncovered for tourists to explore. I cant really even fathom how big the entire thing really is. The city was discovered in 1972, but unfortunately was raided by a bunch of gold seekers, who raided the tombs in the city (the dead were buried with their possesions, often gold and ceramics, to take to their next life with them). Finally the military intervened and people caught selling the relics in the nearby towns were punished. In the mid 80s, tours were started.

In 2003, 8 tourists were kidnapped from the Lost City by a Columbian terrorist group, who demanded government investigation of human rights groups in return for the hostages. Eventually they were all released, unharmed, and the trail as well as the site are both safely guarded by the military at the current moment. We even got pictures at the top with the military guys who are stationed there. They have some wickedly huge guns!

Now we are back in the real world, the not so lost city, and are enjoying a couple of half days on the beach (it is still raining a lot) before heading off to Parque National Tayrona for some hiking etc.

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