Trekking Salkantay in Cuzco
Trip Start Apr 24, 2007
38Trip End Nov 16, 2008
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This is where we start on the mountain road. Letīs define a 'road' in Peru: dirt, lots and lots of rocks and the width is roughly the size of a normal car. This is where the bus is going full speed ahead. At this point I regret taking the window seat, because seeing that 300m drop and no road kinda makes me sweat. On the other side Richard sleeps very well. Every time the bus turns a "corner" you can feel the back of the bus drift... but where does it go I wonder? There is no more road for it to drift onto
Anyways we finally arrive somewhere but we really donīt know if this is our destination.. but suddenly I remember the cook. I stand up start to walking and Richard asks me:"Where are you going?", to which I replied "Where the food goes I go!". Sure enough this was the spot. We met our trekking group: 3 french, 2 Israelis that speak English and of course me, who is nominated as the new translator for the group. We eat a quick breakfast and we are off for our first day.
7hrs of non stop walking - itīs the perpetual, constant effort that really gets to you. We arrive in front of the glacier, cold, tired and itīs getting dark fast. Right now all I can think about is my warm sleeping bag. We have a great meal and by 8h00 everybody is sleeping. Tomorrow we are climbing our highest peak of the trek.
Up at 5h.. itīs very cold. We get up, eat, and start to climb. We need to ascend to 900m from our starting point . This is a solid 3 hrs of effort. After all that effort, you actually go right back down 1750m! Someone needs to bring a civil engineer here to start making flat roads
Knowing that itīs going to be hard doesnīt remove the pain but it dulls it just a bit because you know once you're at the top you only have to go down. The group separated and everybody's goal is to reach the summit one step at a time. 2h30 min of pushing and sweating is hard work, but when you reach the top.. what a feeling of accomplishment!
This is where you realize that all the other mountains around you simply dwarf your position. All these peaks are covered by a tapestry of blue and white diamonds just sparking in the sun. Now if that doesnīt take your breath away, the high altitude will finish the job. Well this is a personal record for me - 4600 m.a.s.l (metres above sea level) and still standing. High altitude is a very unique experience you never know how you are going to react. Richard and I had little if any side effects, but we talked to people that were already 2 weeks in and they still weren't feeling right.
A few pictures and a snack is all the time we have. We need to keep moving because itīs winter here and the sun goes to bed early. 5hrs more walking to reach our camp. Everybody is very happy but tired. Tomorrow we have only one thing in mind -the Natural Hot springs !!!
Aaaah - all the waiting, no showers, no change of clothes, and when we arrived at the natural hot spring the river swallowed it... Ah crap! No time to whine, itīs time to keep moving. We are ascending another 500m today, so 3hrs more of climbing, and then to come back down again once we reach the summit
During this time Richard found a dog that was following him wherever he went. Being the nice guy that he is, he brought the dog with us in the hope of bringing him back to Canada.... Lord the dog story begins....
Up and awake at 4h00 am again today... But itīs the big day. After 2hrs of hot springs last night Iīm ready for the 5 035-Stepmaster-From-Hell we are taking to reach Machu Picchu for the sunrise.. Of course there are buses that leave from the bottom and would save us the pain and time but that would be too easy!
So we get up there half dead looking for a sunrise, but no sun only clouds, and then to top it off it rains ! I think to myself: You've got to be kidding right!?!?! I got up for this !?!?! Luckily the sun eventually showed up, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and revealed Machu Picchu. What a sight. The beauty and the landscape is stunning. Imagine an entire city built on the top of a mountain. The entire sight is a ever changing tapistery of colors and mist. Few words do this place justice, hopefully my pictures will do a better job. The next 4hrs were incredble - hearing the history of this place really brought it back to life for us. We return from Machu Picchu very silent, happy and exhausted.
BUT the Richard Dog-saga continues. Now, wanting to keep a dog is one thing, but traveling back home with it is a totally different story. Richard cancelled his ticket back to Cuzco until the dog situation is solved, one way or another. So, not knowing how long this little soap opera will last, I left Richard at Machu, and I'm going to take the next bus to Nasca. Hopefully this will have a happy ending for all concerned! Itīs time for me to travel alone for a while but I know that Iīm going to meet Richard the last day for a great party !!!
Well next stop Nasca Lines and Sandboarding !