• Kelsey Bumsted

30 Mile Diary: Lost City Trek, Colombia

Updated: Jul 28

Without hesitation, The Lost City trek is the hardest hike I’ve ever experienced- but don’t let that deter you from experiencing it for yourself. It was worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears withstood. The brutal honesty of the following post is necessary to read and understand before you pursue this trek. It is not for the faint of heart but rather the strongest of hearts.

Parque Tayrona is a protected area of Colombia located in the Northeast region bordering Venezuela. The jungle terrain is still home to the native tribes that occupied it thousands of years ago. Disconnected from modern amenities, thriving in their original spaces, they invite foreigners to walk their paths as children of mother nature.

For four days and three nights, we walked through the deepest of mud, the steepest rock steps and waded through rivers and streams for thirty miles round trip to experience the magic of The Lost City. We woke at the crack of dawn to hike as fast as possible to arrive at the next camp before the unforgiving torrential rains fell at 4pm on the dot. The trails, muddy, slippery and thick as hell, filled with horse, cow and donkey droppings made every single step as careful as possible which only strained each muscle in the leg that much more. The downhills became just as difficult as uphills as our swollen, wet, blistered feet pressed the front of our shoes for hours. The beating sun on the humid forest made breathing a chore. The looming rain clouds in the distance made any plateau feel like runways for sprinting to get ahead of the storm. 

Our group had the misfortune of somehow being introduced to bacteria somewhere along the trek. With over 100 people making their way through the trail at the same time, over half of us waited in line for the bathroom throughout the third night without sleep for relief in the basic bathrooms. Thankfully, my boyfriend and I were not one of those people. 

While the Lost City Trek was the most physically straining experience of my life, it was also the most mentally invigorating. My camera stopped me in my tracks to take in the incredibly remote and untouched environment around us. It made me appreciate the strength I built to get through the mud. It gave me motivation to keep going. It helped me evaluate my progress as we went. While others stared at their feet, waiting for the moment that they walked up to the ruins, I constantly felt overwhelmed by the images around me.

Please enjoy some of my favorite shots from the trek below.

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