IM ALIVE AND I JUST HAD THE BEST SHOWER OF MY LIFE...
JKJK. you didn't think I'd leave you hanging like that?!!?
Anywhose, as I last mentioned, I signed myself up for a 4 night/3 day, 29 mile hike to the Lost City aka Ciudad Perdida en espanol. Not sure why i always think a trek on a mountain for a few days sounds enjoyable, but it is what it is... so I signed up with Exptour and 700,000 COP later (~$250), I was on my way. The very long version of my trip is below, but in short, the hike was beautiful, the people were great, and I've never smelt so bad in my life.
So anyway, I get picked up and dropped off at the office early last Saturday, where I meet the rest of my group... I'm wearing a grey tank top and a pair of black nike shorts. I meet four EXTREMELY fit men, Dennis, Evatt, Alee, and Todd...aka Los Chicos, three of whom have been trekking around South America for the past 5 months. And meeee... a New Yorker who has recently been indulging in beers, junk food & other unhealthy things... and since i'm the only chick in the group, I get the nickname la Reina (aka Queen) But anyway, back to the story...
So we get in a van, drive for about an hour and a half into the Sierra Nevadas to start our trek. The guys are running up the hill, exchanging stories about their trip, while I'm huffing and puffing in the back, providingone word replies whenever they ask me something, and praying to god i don't pass out. Did I mention we had to carry alllll our items--clothes, toiletries, water, etc.?!? Luckily we get to a swimming hole, strip off all our clothes, and literally, jump right in. Then we continue running.. ehrm.. I mean walking... with occasional stops for yummy fruits and coffee. Then finally 3 hours later stop for another swim and dinner... this is when I noticed I lost my flip flop, so I'm forced to put on my stinky, muddy shoes, anytime I want to walk outside.
This was the easy day.
The next day, we get up at 530AM, I put my black Nike shorts on again and a new, black Nike shirt and walk uphill FOURever hours. At this point, I've given up trying to keep pace with the men, so I hang back, which is actually quite nice since I'm finally able to enjoy the scenery and not worry about how an ambulance can get up to the mountain if I were to have a heart attack. We eventually stop for lunch and a quick swim with another group, the Tortugas (cus they're slow like tortoises) from Magic Tour (another operator) and hike for another 4 hours, take another swim, and have dinner, which consists of many, many carbs, which is glorious at this point. We also end up sharing our camp spot with the Tortugas and get a history lesson about the area, which had been a pivotal part of the Colombian drug wars. We all pass out at 8PM (woohooo.. crazy kids) and wake up a 530 (again) to get to the Lost City. And I'm still wearing the black Nike shorts and the same shirt from day 1. I SMELL GREAT.
After a yummy breakfast of arepas, we walk about 1KM to the steps of the lost city. The hike was extremelyyyy terrifying--we were walking on the edge of narrow cliffs overlooking the Buritaca river. Then, after getting to the entrance, we had to climb approximately 1,200 extremely steep and slippery steps to get to the city. It was totally worth it though. I can't really explain the beauty of the place, so here are a bunch of pictures since they're worth a thousand words.
We ran around for about an 3 hours, learning about the history of the place. Here's a history lesson:
Apparently, the site was built in 800 AD, 650 years before Machu Picchu was built. It was built by the Tayrona and named Teyuna. TThe city is built a 4,265 ft above the valley and was home for about 4,000-10,000 people, covering over 129,167 square feet. When the Spanish conquistadors invaded the Colombian coast, Teyuna was abandoned and for 350 years, the city was hidden until 1972, men hunting birds near the river Buritaca encountered mossy stairs leading up a steep hill.
The path leads 169 stone terraces, which is what we saw. Houses, plazas, ceremonial areas, paved roads, stairs, canals and reservoirs are the many structures in the city. A spiral staircase leads to a ceremonial platform in the middle of the ruins. Teyuna The architectural style is unique. Terrazas ceremonial form the center of the lost city.
So don't say I never taught ya nothingg....
ANYWAY, after exploring, we walk back down, which nearly gave me a panic attack since it was so steep and slippery. I ended up just sliding down on my butt for half of the steps in the same black Nike shorts I've been wearing since day 1. Then we ate lunch, walked back and spent the night at the second camp where it started raining. It was pretty cozy though, and we met a Tayrona from the Kogi tribe, who explained a few things about their culture. TBH, i was not paying attention because I was so tired. I went to bed at 8PM again, and when we woke up the next day, I put on my same shorts and shirt from day 2, hike for another 8 hours, had lunch (which included an ice cold beer)
We finally got back to my hostel in Santa Marta, which is where I proceeded to quickly drop off my things, strip int he middle of the room, and sprint to the shower. Once I got out, I handed the people at the front desk my stinky clothes for laundry and now I'm uploading pics & writing this blog. I'm heading to Tayrona National Park tomorrow to camp out for another 2 days on the beach, and will head back to Cartagena afterwards to meet up with some friends (HI KATY!!!)
CAN'T WAIT XOXO