Saturday, November 26, 2011

salkantay part 3

Salkantay 3
Our second campsite at Challway was on a sweet patch of green grass, surrounded by chickens, dogs, and other trekkers. Victor, our guide said the third day was his favorite because “people like to make lots of party”.....hmm. This was also supposed to be much, much easier with the trail descending only 600meters before lunch. We were allowed to sleep in a bit more this morning, and again we were awoken with coca tea in our tents. I was definitely renewed from a good nights sleep, but a lot of us were really feeling those blisters! After our birthday pancake breakfast we said good by to our horses and caballeros...this was the last time we would see them again. They would be passing us on the trail and drop our stuff off, then turn around and ride all the way back to Mollepata. So for our thank you we gathered our tips and circled them in a farewell conga line. I'm not sure what they thought of us crazy gringos....but we were having fun, and showing our appreciation. After our thank you's and good-byes we headed out on the trail....for the third day. The beginning was along a road, and it was getting hot... I didn't plan for such hot and sunny whether, but I sure was grateful for it. Today we were only going to hike to our lunch spot, and the trail was pleasant with wild strawberries and ferns along the way. Hot and dusty we were promised cold beer at the lunch spot, and as we approached, we could see gathered along the riverbank a few vans. Somehow we were allowed to ride on top of the vans....only in Peru! So as we rode along, sometimes clinging for life a few of us ( ahhem...andy!) tormented the other trekkers who were walking this part. With some on top and others hanging off the sides we arrived at the lunch place. Now Drew had been telling me for weeks how he found a bottle of rum to bring on the trek to celebrate my birthday, and we had all been waiting for the right moment....and here it was! With ice cold beer and a bottle of rum going around and the walking for the day finished, things were starting to get loose. But it wasn't til after lunch that things really got started....we had another van ride to “Santa Teresa” where we would be camping for the night, and apparently, the other van had the rum...and it was gone by the time we landed in ST. So once at the campsite we grabbed our swimsuits and went off to the hot springs. By the way we arrived you won't think wee had been trekking for 3 days and climbing mountains...cause we were all on fire! The hot springs were gorgeous and our bodies were grateful for the reprieve.
Now how to describe the events that followed may be difficult....there were flips and tricks, there was chicken, and then it turned to Aqua Chess, a game a pure strategy, strength and bit of water up the nose. This eventually grew into who could make the tallest or biggest tower. Dinner was awesome and I was surprised again, when the camp chefs brought out a birthday cake for me! The night didn't get any more mellow....more rum, then limbo, then the boys......well let's just say shirts were off and there was a pole should say enough. And thus ended our third day...needless to say, my birthday on the trail was a memorable one!
(sorry the pics are backwards...a peeve of mine about flickr)
salkantay part 3, a set on Flickr.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

family visit part 3, pisac ruins


P1030534P1030525P1030532P1030537P1030550P1030554the pisac ruins lie hi up on the hill looking down on the sacred valley. they say they are in the shape of a partridge bird, which "pisac" is the quechua name for...but i think you need an airplane view to know that. so often the incas built mind boggling structures in improbable places...high on a mountain, on a cliff. they definetly had a conecction with their land that was unique. they could take such command of the landscape, with their terracing, quarrys, waterways and carving.

pisac, a set on Flickr.

Salkantay day 2....THE SUMMIT

Day 2 was supposed to be harder than the first with our summit before lunch. Another early morning, we were to be out on the trail by 6am. Our caballeros served us coca tea in our tents (well, most of us). And after breakfast we were out....we were all given the option to hire a horse if we wanted, but we were feeling up to there we were...”We're Doin' It!” We were forewarned about 'the serpent” the ass-kicking 7 cornered switchback climb we were to make...although I counted 12?? The weather was much cooler, which makes climbing mountains a little easier. With 15 of us we could get pretty spread out, up to a mile, but eventually with stops and breaks we would gather back together....and eventually together we made it to the top. One of our breaks was at a little alpine lake where I guide gave us some background on Incan rituals and ceremonies, and their love and worship of the mountains or apus as they called them. Once at the top we split up a little, Victor taking 10 over to another spot, where the rest of us opted to head down and wait on the trail. We truly had wonderful weather...clear up to the peak, but not long after we started our descent the rain came in. It started out sweet and soft, but by the time we made it another hour down to our lunch spot we were all soaked...even with the rain gear! Our amazing and stalwart chefs managed to prepare a great lunch in a downpour only under umbrellas! But our luck would prove to be best, when by the time we were finished with lunch the rain would lighted to a mist....however, we still had another good 5 hours ahead of us, downhill on a rocky and now muddy trail....yay!! This was my hardest day by far, not just with the climb, I think the downhill was harder on the time this caboose strolled into camp my legs and feet we so tired. But this campground had beer!!! not that I had the energy to enjoy it, after a couple sips, I skipped dinner and went to bed!


Salkantay day 2, a set on Flickr.