Today was gonna be a tough one.
Not only were we going to have to trek around 7 hours, but we would have to negotiate 9 river crossings, and then do the final assault on the infamous "Lost City steps" (all 1,200 of the slippery buggers), all before tea time.
Crossing the river
Luckily I'd packed along my waterproof TEVA sandals which proved to be essential gear for crossing the river and the slippery stones, and thankfully the river wasn't particularly high as there hadn't been any rain lately so it was only up to our knees (some visitors who come in the cooler rainy season have to deal with carrying their bags over their heads in shoulder-high floods!)
A lot of the guys who had brought flip-flops (or nothing and were trying it barefoot) had to change their boots at each river crossing, but my TEVAs were able to stand up to the test and worked in both situations which meant I didn't have to get changed, so I highly recommend you bring a good pair of sandals on the trek!
I also just wore a pair of boardshorts from here until the end of the trek, so I reckon you'd only need one pair of boardshorts for the whole trip (and a pair of tracksuit bottoms for nighttime) as they also let you jump into the swimming holes without having to get changed!
Erm... where to now?
It was precarious work navigating the rivers and the slippy slimy stones and I didn't rush it just to avoid breaking my knee even further! Some of the others in the group were zooming ahead though, and in an effort to keep them happy, the guide went ahead of them leaving us stragglers behind. I swear it would have been so easy for me to fall and break my neck and noone would have known, or I could have missed where the guide had headed when he detoured back onto dry land while I was looking down to see where I was stepping. If a second guide was on the trip then this wouldn't be an issue.. but I digress...
Steps to Lost City
Tiny steps not for
size 13 feet!
Eventually I traced the group to a tiny inconspicuous opening in the forest, and 5 metres from here the steps to the Lost City suddenly appeared! Fantastic!!!
Now more than ever I felt like Indiana Jones, and the theme tune was running through my mind as I crawled up the 1,200 precariously slippy steps to the top. It was tough TOUGH work after all we'd been through and the steps were barely able to hold my size 13 shoes (as the Tairona people must all have been smaller than the Kogui, who are TINY!).
Eventually making it to the top, as if to add to the suspense of what I was about to see a gentle ghostly mist rolled in...
A massive grand staircase laid before me, framed by ancient trees, leading up to a huge series of terraces. The scene was magnificent! I was here
Day 3 Lost city ...
At the top of the main staircase a large cleared area of terraces appeared backed by a mountain of trees disappearing up into the clouds. To the right and the left are views of the valley stretching out below with forested-mountains as far as the eye can see. The air was so clean and so pure.
Suddenly out of my left eye I spot little green men, well men in green uniforms, waving down to us to come up and say hi. Yep the army has basically setup camp right in the Lost City as a means of keeping kidnappers at bay (6 tourists were kidnapped here in 2003 and held captive for over 100 days), and also as a lucrative sideline to sell tourists their army-issued gear.
More in the next entry...