Finding the Lost City

Date April 15, 2009

Day 3

We were warned that today would be the toughest day of the hike, so we got up early to hide from some of the jungle heat and to make our way to the City before lunch.

The walking was precarious and more than once my feet slipped on rocks that weren’t meant to be walked upon by shod feet.  We creeped along the side of the river, high above the water, balancing on tiptoes and clinging to hanging branches.  We climbed up and through fallen trees and over boulders and fences and we crossed the fast moving river nine times before our guide said that only one crossing remained.

There was a mystical sort of silence when he said it and I think it had something to do with the finding of what had once been lost.

And find it we did.

We crossed the water and right there on the other side, the steps began and one by one we walked up the them, trodding carefully on each and every one that had been laid so many years ago by a people that thought the strength of the Earth could be soaked up through the soles of their feet.

Then, there was the city.  A city lost no more.

Day 4

The end of a long day.  There’s the quietest rain falling, the sun is nearly gone, and I’m trying desperately to determine how to best write while a gentle Colombian breeze rocks my hammock.  I hear the fire crackling and the cook is standing over it singing to himself as he stirs the frijoles that will fill us all ’til morning.

I cannot believe that I am here, but the blister on my toe and the smell of a four day sweat remind me that, yes, today is real and I am in it.

Day 5

Done.  We left late from camp and stopped to play in a sceret swimming spot.  We dove and jumped from ungodly heights and got eaten alive by mosquitoes and the like for nearly an hour before we made our way up and out of the hidden spot to eat watermelon and start another climb.

Straight up at no less than a 45 degree angle for over an hour.  Found a nice rhythm today and the group stuck together well in a clip clop of booted feet.  We stopped again when we cleared the shade to yell across the mountains– each of us dripping, but somehow content.

Back at Day 1 camp now and after my a nap and my second bucket bath, we’re playing chess in the candlelight.

Day 6

We were in no hurry today and slept in until a tardy 7:00 a.m.  Before breakfast we walked across the sun-soaked mountain and down toward the sound of moving waters.  There, hidden in the trees, was a waterfall.  We carefully climbed barefooted down the side of it- the six of us and the family that gave us a place to hang our hammocks.

I stood there in the spray and laughed at the way nature’s surprises and wonders can turn the burliest of men into giggling, playing boys again.

Breakfast of arepas and eggs, packs loaded, waves, kisses, and hugs goodbye.  Then, the start of a long walk home.  A long, steady climb, sweat, sharing water, resting at the top, chatting like friends that have known each other for six lifetimes rather than six days.

5 Responses to “Finding the Lost City”

  1. deanna said:

    I bet it was all breathtaking…and I don’t mean the 4-day old sweat! I loved the pictures and loved hearing your accounts of it!

  2. Trava said:

    Promise me an autographed copy of your book……….Love you bunches!!

  3. Jill said:

    Someone may look at your account of the “6 days” and could possibly think we are a bunch of fibbers with the lack of clothing changes…

  4. Lou said:

    It was great to read…you again made me feel like I was there. I definitely wished I was there.

    Beautiful pictures! especially that first one. Friends forever is what is says to me.

  5. Anya said:

    Again…I get lost in your writing. XOXO