Expedition Unknown – City of Gold – S01E05

imageFor this adventure we are heading out to Peru to look for the Incan Lost City of Gold. Back in 1532 Spanish Conquistadors cut and slashed their way through the Incan empire looking for gold and silver, lead by Francisco Pizarro. He wanted to fill rooms with gold and would stop at nothing to make it a reality. Hearing of his thirst for blood and gold, the Incas disappeared into the mountains and took their precious metals with them. But the question remains, is the City of Gold a myth, nothing more than the stuff of legend or is there really an ancient city out there in the mountains with vast stores of gold?

As with any good adventure you need to hit the market and stock up on supplies. And as with any good market there are some unusual things to try. Josh samples something which looks to be related to the guinea pig. No no, no need to take the meat off the bone and make it look presentable, just cook the rascal whole, leave the head on and eat it with your bare hands. Gadzooks, it looks shocking! Can’t say I would do it.

After the market, Josh meets up with Greg Deyermenjian, who’s been looking for Incan ruins for the past 30 years. He’s documented multiple previously undiscovered sites and firmly believes there are still many more to uncover. Greg has assembled a team and they will follow the ancient footpaths the Incas left behind. These paths extend up into Ecuador and down into Chile, nearly 10,000 miles of roads to follow.

While Greg puts together his team, Josh makes a side trip to the mysterious ruins of Machu Pichu. Unlike other explorations, he takes a luxurious train ride up to the site. It’s a glorious train with catered meals, fine dining and a wonderful observation car. Too bad getting to ruined cities can always be like that. He does however go back to his roots and in the market samples one of the local soups, a spicy blend of meats that includes bull penis.

But that’s not all you can get in the market. In order to scale the mountain and handle the thin air, they need to buy bags of coca leaves. These are the same leaves that make up the chief ingredient of cocaine. It is still used as stimulant and the team is going to need it.

With the team assembled, Josh heads up the mountain in some 4×4’s. The road is treacherous and narrow with severe cliffs off to the side. The journey is slowed by the oncoming rainstorm which forces them to take shelter in a local church. It is rough accommodations, but it has a foosball table and a 12 year old hustler that beats Josh soundly. It’s always so wonderfully strange to see people open up their homes to complete strangers. Ok sure, maybe handfuls of bills trade hands behind the scenes, but let’s not let that shatter the illusion.

They follow the road to the end of the line and then go by foot. Legend says the Incas threw away a lot of their supplies so they could make better progress over the mountains. To support the legend they dig around in Lake Pumacocha and find ancient potatoes from the Incan supplies. It appears they’re on the right path and so they continue up through the heavy jungle and find an ancient set of ruins to spend the night in.

As they continue their progression in the morning, they find rock paintings of llamas that further support the Incas followed this path. As they get ready to make a dangerous river crossing, they accidentally stir up a hornets nest, literally, and get stung on the face, legs and hands. And it’s time to cross the cold waters of the river. A river that nearly sweeps Josh away. These explorations of Incan mountain top ruins are dangerous!

But they are rewarded for their effort and find several Incan buildings that look to be houses or perhaps an outpost of some sort. They are completely overgrown but they are clearly well made structures. They even find a piece of pottery or art in what looks to be a window of one of the buildings. Greg definitely believes this is part of the Incan ruins. They don’t have the right tools or enough supplies so they mark where they are and Greg works to set up a team to head out to the same site later that year.

So no treasure rooms filled with gold, but there are definitely more Incan buildings and ruins out there. And the path they are following is thousands of miles long. If there is a Lost City of Gold, it could easily hide out there in the harsh mountains, covered in moss, trees and roots. So much of that area is unexplored so who knows what’s hiding behind the next ridge. No gold bars this trip, but who knows what the next one will bring.

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One Response to Expedition Unknown – City of Gold – S01E05

  • Bob Powers says:

    Lake Pumacocha episode the party took what may have been very old potatoes, what did they turn out to be and how old were they
    – BOB

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