Merry Christmas, from Putucusi
Trip Start Dec 22, 2012
7Trip End Aug 01, 2013
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What I did
The next day my parents and I walked into town with the directions Joseph gave us. They were not very good so we asked a police officer how to get to the top. He told us, as any safety first minded officer of the law would, to walk along the train tracks for about 10 minutes until we see the trail up
After getting back to the hotel I showered and started to hydrate and then passed out on a couch in the lobby. Except I couldn't fall asleep despite my exhaustion. I was still having some trouble breathing and moving was no easy task. I figured it would go away once I had some water and some sleep. Our train back to Cusco was leaving in the next little bit so we packed up our stuff and made our way down the train station. I plodded along, resting at every opportunity. Once I got on the train I tried to go to sleep, again without success. Then I started getting hot and cold and breathing took some serious effort. I called over my mom and told her I was feeling awful. She told the train staff. The train staff arrived with a tank of oxygen, a cup of coca tea, and a bag of coca leafs. Coca is the natural product used in cocaine which is popular in Peru in teas and for chewing. It is widely believed that it helps with altitude sickness, gives you energy, and sharpens your senses. So after sucking in some glorious oxygen and drinking a cup of coca tea and chewing a fat wad of coca leaves I still felt like I was going to die. After a while I started to feel a bit better and was able to eat my first meal since climbing the mountain. It would be my last meal for the next 48 hours, I could not stomach food at all - even liquids were problematic. Sleep wasn't any easier especially the first night when I was wired from cocaine ingredients
Later when I told some peruvians about the climb they would look at me with alarm and ask in a very surprised tone, "YOU climbed Putucusi?! Even we don't climb Putucusi." Another told me he was too scared to climb it. I guess I have Joseph to thank for that one. But all in all it was an amazing experience and I would do it again, although next time with more water, some food, a rain coat, and after a few more days to get used to the high altitude of the Andes. And if you ever meet an adventure advisor named Joseph - expect an adventure, just don't expect what he tells you.