For this trip I am carrying a lot more clothing since I will be doing two treks and the weather will be a bit colder than my SE Asia travels. My Gossamer Gear pack weighs 11 lbs and I am wearing about 8 lbs of items. My down parka for the colder weather and sandals for river crossings have added two pounds to my pack weight. I am also packing a 5 oz. silk sleep sack for warmth and protection from the bugs and kooties I may find in some of the jungle overnight beds and hammocks.
I have cut out sections of the Lonely Planet guides of Colombia-Ecuador-Peru for easy reference in addition to having the entire LP guides downloaded to my iPad using the Kindle app for just $3 per guide. These weigh in at about a pound and I will leave them behind as I travel lightening my load a bit.
I started planning this trip when I got an email notification from Crooked Trails tour group---I had traveled with them before to Peru and Ladakh Region, India---who announced an interesting tour to Choquequirao---hope I can pronounce it before I finish this trip.
I tried to use my American Air frequent flyer miles to get to Peru, but the cost would have been 60,000 miles. Fortunately I found a round trip flight to Bogota, Colombia for just 32,500 miles---- a purchased flight would have cost $2,009. Since I have never been to Colombia I thought this might be something to checkout.
About this time, I found an American Air Advantage Citi Credit card offer of 50,000 miles to open their credit card. This will be useful for future trips using the American Advantage program.
I worked up an itinerary that would take me from Bogota, Colombia north to Cartegena and to a 5 day trek to Ciudad Perdida which would involve 9 river crossings to get to the recently discovered ruins. This is why I am taking my river sandals. Following that, I will continue by bus with stops in Medellin, Cali, Trujillio, Octavolo, Quito, and Lima where I would join up with the Crooked Trails group to Choquequirao. Some friends of mine, Gary and Heidi Holliday , from Loreto will also be joining me on this trek. After the trek I will backtrack by bus to Bogota, Colombia for my return to the US.
This morning, I caught a Yellow Cab to SEA since the light rail doesn't start in time for me to catch my plane.
Upon boarding the US Airways plane to Charlotte, SC, the passenger next to me asked if I wanted to trade seats with his wife who was up in first class. Was there any doubt that I would accept this offer.
The first class ride was very comfortable and the quiche with, fresh fruit, coffee and tomato juice was delicious and a good start to this trip.
With a three hour stopover in CLT, I enjoyed some blackened catfish with red mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner. No chance of snagging another first class seat to Miami, my next stop.
My scheduled arrival in Bogota, Colombia is just after midnight and I have reserved a place there at the Cranky Croc Hostel---hope this works. No public transportation at this time so a taxi will do at about $30 USD.
The adventure begins.