The Lost City | Day 2

Day two turned out to be the hardest in terms of physical exertion but full of encounters with the indigenous population of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

On this day I walked from Camp 1 to camp Paraiso Teyuna.

5 am wakeup call on a pretty decent night. The temperature dropped in the middle of the night and surprisingly in the morning, there were no bugs flying around. I have not used the mosquito repellent and that’s always good news.

 

We had breakfast around 5:30 am just as the sun crept over the mountains. I gather all belongings spilled over my bunk bed and made my backpack. The groups started leaving camp at 6 am and we weren’t behind.

 

Today we’re walking for eight hours, split into two stages with a nice long break for lunch in between. After last night’s rain, the ground is a bit muddy but doable.

 

It is nice smelling the jungle, hearing and seeing the different species of animals harmoniously coexisting. What was not nice and caught off guard was a dead rattlesnake on the path. It turns out that this jungle is crawling with them. They have no natural predators and are not afraid of humans. A single bite is strong enough to kill a horse in a few days, humans only one.

 

We were warned not to deviate from the path and not to go do our business on the bush. A few years ago a snaked crawled into a campground and bit an old lady, she didn’t make it to Mamey. Gabo told us that during the rainy season when the frogs are out in masses that’s when the snakes become a problem.

 

Got the major climb of the morning out of the way and took a much-needed break with a thick watermelon slice to replenish the system.

 

Up to this point on the trek is been a combination of exposed hills, farmlands and the occasional jungle canopy but from now on we are in the jungle-jungle, indigenous territory.

 

The walk to the campground was what they call traversing or pretty much up and down non stop. The occasional rancher, with a few mules filled to the brim with supplies, walks past us. I saw a coffee field next to the path. A few years ago, this whole area was cocaine central. The Guerrillas had full control and no outsiders were allowed in here.

 

The second stop of the morning was at a rest stop owned by Gabo’s uncle and aunt. They were friendly spoke Spanish. Gabo’s dad was on the walky-talky ordering supplies from Mamey while his aunt was making a wristband to add to her collection of handcraft souvenirs. I bought a Gatorade and sat on a bench while enjoying the view. The sun was out, and it was getting increasingly hot.

 

The trail cuts through the jungle past a few streams and onto the first campground of the day. It was full of soldiers, young kids really, they were friendly, and we struck a conversation. The Colombian army established a presence in the area with routine patrols after a group of trekkers were kidnapped by the guerilla in 2005. It’s been quiet ever since.

 

The indigenous village of Mutanshi came out of nowhere. We walked the perimeter while Gabo gave us a brief history of the place. They had a small coca field they use for daily ritual ceremonies. I meet a couple of indigoes toddlers and a baby as their mom was doing laundry by the river.

 

And finally, we made it to the campsite where we had a two-hour lunch break. I headed straight for the river and took a dip in the cold waters of the river. Had an ajiaco soup and chick, rice and a salad for lunch. This is the campsite where we will be staying tomorrow night.

 

Left camp and followed the river over big rocks until we reached a bridge.  Took a five-minute day and saw a few pigs making their way through the jungle.

 

From this point on it was an hour and a half straight up. The most difficult section of the trip so far. I fed the two dogs back at the camp and they are now my best friends. Great for me as they will alert me of any wild animal on the trail.

 

The climbing was now done for and I was so glad. I made it to the rest spot and indulge on cold orange. The place was full of trekkers catching their breath and a young indigenous family speaking in their native tongue.

 

The final stretch to Paraiso Teyuna camp was grueling but nothing compared to what I’ve had done today. A river crossing forced me to take off my shoes and dip my feet in the cold river water. The camp has enough beds, bathrooms, and tables for 30+ trekkers. I got a corner bed with a view of the river and settled in. We are about an hour away from the Lost City. Tomorrow morning it should be an easy walk to the base of the steps.

 

It was a shower and a tasty homemade dinner with great company.

© 2018 Efren Gonzalez, all rights reserved

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