Before I start this post I want to introduce a dear friend that we met here in Cusco....ladies and gents, friends and family, meet Drew. If you've met him you know, and if you have not had the pleasure yet, maybe your luck will turn in the future. Xylia met Drew at Amauta, the Spanish school, where the two became good friends, she eventually brought him home where now he's part of the family. The reason I bring Drew in here now is because this Salkantay trek was his idea...he found the company and really was the motivating force to bring us all together. The trek was a 5 day, 4 night trek through the Andes mountains, where we would summit the Salkantay pass at 15,200 ft and then head down through the cloud forest on our way to Machu Picchu! During these 5 days I would e celebrating my 36th birthday....so THANK YOU DREW!! This was an amazing trip, where each one of us added a special flavor to our Salkantay Family Soup, our trek filled with endless laughs, a little delirium, blisters, rum, and life long friendships!
So now let me introduce the rest of the Salkantay family...
Drew, Englishman, Amauta spanish student, favorite color green, creator of aqua-chess
Robin, German, Amauta spanish student with a huge generous heart, excellent rum-pole dancer
Jon, New Yorker, Amauta spanish student, artist, best back-flipper
Evan, New Yorker, Jon's BFF who's come to join the travels, the double fisted vegan
Ryan, Chicagoan, Amauta spanish student, introvert breaking outta his shell, a man on his own
Maria, Californian, Amauta spanish student, west side story star.....she's doin' it
Rachel, Jersey girl, Amauta spanish student, wins the blister award
Anna, English Rose, Amauta spanish student, saxaphonista
Ruedi, Swiss-German, Amauta Spanish student, perma-smile silent optimist
Chris, Kiwi, wild-card add on...no really THE wild card, best Tina Turner impression
Andy, Englishman, from the same town as Drew, best inappropriate photo award
Anna, Kiwi, best sweat-salt pants, and carried the biggest camera
Michael, Californian/Chicagoan, Amauta spanish student, best rum-pole dance, mister blister fixer-upper
Xylia, Californian, Amauta spanish student, the freshman, champion chicken fighter
Pilar, Californian, Amauta spanish student, the birthday girl, eating birthday butter on the birthday bridge
Day 1 was to begin with a 4am pick up and bus ride to Mollepata. However, before we even began, somehow we managed to lose Robin! Actually our start was a bit rough....but once we were ALL on the bus we were good. We arrived in Mollepata where our guide would hire the horse porters to carry our supplies and where our journey would begin. It was hot and dry...similar to the scrub landscape of the Los Padres mountains in LA. A bit of a death-march to the lunch spot, we did make it, with Xylia over heating, and Jon's tummy troubles. Victor, our guide offered a truck ride to those who wanted it to our campground...so Jon, Xy, and I took it along with our super-trooper camp chefs Maria y Edgar. Riding in the back of a truck in South America is always an adventure...and this one proved to be no less! Cliff drops, river crossing and the approaching glacier made for quite a ride! We arrived a couple hours before the others started to trickle in to our first campsite at Soraypampa. So ended the first day with a 20km trek to the foot of a glacier, that I can't remember the name of, but was nonetheless breathtaking.
Salkantay day 1, a set on Flickr.