South America April - June 2010, Eastern Europe 2009

For the sake of keeping all blog posts in one place, going to keep this Europe travel blog page rolling...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beat by Nature

Hi all,

We just returned last night from our 6 day hiking trek in the Colombian jungle. It was both the most unreal and most difficult thing i have ever done in my life. Ill explain...

The trek was initially supposed to be a 5 day return hike to these ruins of a lost city in the middle of the colombian jungle. we paid extra to take the trip with an indengous guide, visiting their villages and spending a day with a shaman on the way up.

Only a few of these things actually happened. We got to the place where they drop you off to start the trek (about 2 hours south of where we staying) and our guide was mia. We ended up having to join a larger group of about 7 people to do the hike, but this ended up being for the better because 6 days with just the four of us would have been borrrrriiing. nof offense guys.

anyways i want to write a ton about this mission, because it was serious mission, but this keyboard is so horrible and sticky ill stick to the highlights.

Day 1 to 3 was unbelievable. the colombian rainforest is beautiful, but it is a rainforest and it monsooned rain everyday of our trip (except for the last of course). we slept in hammocks, ate good food, listened to the bugs and birds and frogs at night, with fire flies lighting up the bushes. the first 3 days everything was still new, hiking was fun, even went to a mini cocaine factory which was pretty rad.

As everyday it rained we were constantly wet, my shoes were wet the entire 6 days. I also managed to bring the smallest bag on the trip which meant i wore the same pair of shorts for a week Our clothes never dried because it was so moist in the jungle, you wore your old wet clothes from the day before. We all stunk, were covered in mud, and putting those things on in the morning was unpleasant to say the least.

Day 3 we got to our third camp, and were going to do the 1200 step trek up to the top of the hill but it was going to rain so we waited til day 4. This meant we had to extend our trip for an extra day (also we had picked a different way to go home that was longer but meant we didnt have to go back through the same way we came in).

Day 4 was the worst day ever. Every day it rained the slope of the mountains became so slick with clay mud. On day 4 I almost cried 2x once when I slipped 8-10ft downhill, cut my ass ass up, and hit a tree, and 2nd when i slipped and fell onto a branch that stabbed me in the eye. We hiked between 4-6 horus a day and I have NEVER pushed myself to the physical limits that i did on this trip. We think we probably hiked the equivalent of the grouse grind (both up and down) 10 plus times in the 6 days. Because we were in the mountains we never walked sideways we walked up and down mtns. For example day 4, we hiked up the mountain to the City (an hour) hiked down (an hour), hiked up another mtn (hour) went down (2 hours) and then hiked back up a hill (1 hour). I dont know what was worse going uphill in the mud or downhill. Day 5 we did a 2 and a hlaf hour descent and i never thought it was going to end. I dont mean to make this post so negative, and its unfortunate i couldnt have written it after day 3, but day 4-6 were serious hell.

there were some ups, however, during this time. we did get to stay in this really beautiful place on night four (even though i was bummed all my dry clothes had gotten wet). I have an amazing shot of the sunrise. The last night was also fun, all of us hanging around playing cards and drinking tea/ colombian coffee for hours while it rained outside the cover of the communal area of a local farmers farm.

The views were also out of this world and you felt completely and utterly isolated in the jungle, it was an unreal feeling.

Bugs and ticks were an issue. I luckily didnt get any ticks (that i know of), Corey got ravaged :).

Day 6 hearing we had only 15 mins left to go sent a big smile to my face. Getting to the top all of us collapsed, my body had literally nothing left to give.

Our main guide, Carlos, and porters and cooks, Arielle and Che, were awesome and very kind. Carlos helped me down the entire first day of the mud (spoiled), but I was so so so so so afraid of hurting my knee it took me ages to get down.

I got out of thr trip unhurt (relatively) and alive, same with Owen Corey and Erin, so all is good.

Last night we partied with our group and guides (Carlos turned 50), which was pretty cool everyone came out even though we were up at 530 am and had hiked 4 and a half hours during the day. Tonight I think we go to Medillin, 16 hrs by bus, not before Erin goes to the doctor though. she did the whole thing while recoevring from a kidney infection that had left her in the hospital for a few days.

anyways this ended up being long but hope all is well at home and will update soon!

Yay clean clothes and a real bed, life is good!!!!



  1. life is sooo good!!! was sooo amazing!

  2. whoaa! that sounds wicked. love your updates and cant wait for pics.

  3. Hey Jesse! I hope your knee survived the crazy hiking dude. Can't wait to see you after you're back and see the pictures. Although challenging and super frustrating at times, you are experience something truly amazing -- Enjoy it my friend! xo