Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 50 - 3x5

We woke up and hit the trail early after a breakfast of eggs and bread. The path followed the large river past another camp and along some steep edges before bringing us to a crossing point. Some people were crossing in the water, but the current looked strong and it meant getting very wet. Ulrich was carrying our backpack for the first time, which was the deal, and we were less inclined to swim with all of our stuff. That actually was never in the plans anyways, we learned, as Miguel guided us just a few meters upriver to an old fashioned single-person cable car crossing.

After the big crossing the path wound uphill for about 30 minutes and then flat for a while past some indigenous houses and through some fields. Then the path turned into the jungle and began an up and down pattern, crossing small creeks that lead down to the Buritaca on the downs. Eventually we began crossing back and forth across the Buritaca on foot, always at places where the current was minimal and there was a safety rope for groups to use when the river was too high to walk though it. Another 30 minutes and we were at camp 3. The mudslide camp.

We cooled off in the river and then had sandwich lunches before continuing on to Cuidad Perdida. There was a bit of a discussion (which I stayed out of) about whether or not hike up to the Lost City that afternoon or wait until morning. From camp 3 it was approximately 1.5 hours to the top. How could we not go? It was the middle of the day and there was nothing promising to do around Mudslide camp, that’s for sure! We were going today, no matter if it rained or became cold or would be prettier in the morning. Hike for 3 days to get 1.5 hours away from the destination and then rest for an afternoon? Nope. We went on. We followed the river, crossing a few times before seeing the first steps on the river bank. There are said to be 1,200 steps to the top and they are beautiful. I had to go slow, but still managed it up in about 40 minutes. We spent a couple hours at the top taking pictures and letting Miguel do his guide-routine, before heading back down.

Today's song is 3 x 5, by John Mayer. It's a song about traveling, fitting the world into a picture frame, seeing the world through both your own eyes, and sharing things with people you love.

Arriving at camp before dark, but in the rain, we decided to swim, get dry and take a rest. Camp 3 had a few beds and we’d scored one, although I figure we would have been asked to take them anyways because it made no sense for couples to sleep in the hammocks and singles to sleep in the beds. The camp had been slightly compromised for space since the mudslide had taken out half of one of the cabins. After a rest we had pasta dinner and decided to approach Miguel about an idea to hike back to Machette in one day instead of two. He was noot entirely keen about the idea at first, although he acknowledged that his best time from the Lost City to Machette was 6 hours and 40 minutes, so he knew it could easily be done. He was concerned about why we wanted to leave the group and I think he was taking our desire to get out of there early as a sign of how we felt he was as a guide. Truth was, the trail down followed the exact same route we’d just come up, and we were confident that we could do it in one day and why not? If there was promise of new adventure we might have been inclined to stay, but even still, walking for 2 half-days and lazing around at camps we already knew for 2 half-days didn’t seem very appealing.

So it was settled that Miguel would stay with the group. Ximena and Juan wanted to revisit the lost city in the morning before starting their descent.  Diego was assigned to escort us out, to my delight because I had begun to enjoy Diego’s personality much more than Miguel’s anyways.

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