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March 09, 2005

Santa Marta, Colombia

I was trying to think of a good word to describe our hiking trip to the Lost City up in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, and nothing surfaced from my vocabulary that was adequate. Choosing to do the longer route proved a wise decision. The 6 days of hiking up and down mountains covered with thick jungle and cloud forest vegetation and swimming in clear mountain streams felt really good for my body. we ate a lot of food that was at times very nourishing and at times a bunch of crappy white bread, but i felt fueled to push up 3 hour ascents, sweating like a racehorse, and then bounce on down the other sides. the ruins weren't magnificent in that in your face way like Tikal or Petra, they were about 80 terraces built of rocks across the face of this mountain at a few thousand feet elevation. what made them more impressive were some of the facts that we learned, such as they were only rediscovered 30 years ago, after being lost for 370 years, and that the discoverers weren't scientists but instead graverobbers, who had hit upon a treasure trove of gold artifacts. the graverobbers were so organized that they even had a union for a bit. before the government came in there was horrific infighting between the rival gangs, with gunfights up in the midst of the overgrown ruins.

unfortunately, i keep writing these entries the night before i head out on week long trips, so my thoughts are always on the upcoming trip, and i forget to focus on what i have just done. tomorrow aaron, kristy, and i, accompanied by 3 new friends, scott, angie and this amazing basque guy named unai all head out to Parque Tayrona. we will be living on empty caribbean beaches, swimming and bodysurfing in the ocean and lagoons, jumping off rocks into the water, cooking over campfires, sleeping in hammocks, and reading tons of books. the plan is to return in 5 days, but that may be extended indefinitely. all the plans i have for after my trip are up in the air, seems i won't be returning to israel anytime soon, nor working in l.a. doing editing or leading rafting trips in oregon. that leaves hitching and riding my bike back and forth across the country, maybe hanging out in portland with drew for a bit, maybe visiting canada or some other things i haven't figured out yet. it feels amazing to have nothing at all really on my plate for when i get back, and between now and then i have all of venezuela including another hiking trip, plus meeting my father in suriname for 10 days to explore some crazy nature reserve they have there that is encompassed a 4th of the entire country. ok, gotta go pack again.

Posted by bendan at March 9, 2005 06:21 PM

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