Sparky Travels

April 17, 2011

Salkantay Trek Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 10:10 pm

A couple of hours after falling asleep my alarm was ringing and I was up and out. What I didn’t need was there to be no water and consequently no shower. I didn’t have long to worry about this as the minibus arrived and we were on our way to Mollepata. Given that I risen at 3am I pretty much slept the whole way there. My fellow trekkers were a Dutch couple and Swiss guy. Our guide was a Peruvian called Elvis. At Mollepata we had breakfast, bought coca leaves and walking sticks and then continued to the starting point of the trek, Sorayapampa. Here, at 3800m we met our mule driver and chef and began the our walk to Machu Picchu. A few minutes after we began we stopped to make an offering to the mountains in Incan style (no, not sacrifices) by leaving coca leaves and requests for good weather and safe journeying.

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The landscape was very reminiscent of the Scottish highlands, to further add to the likeness the rain began while we slogged uphill to our lunch destination at Soyrococha. It was a hard hike up to the high point of 4600m as we made our way through the Salkantay Pass between Humantay and Salkantay mountains. Just before the top we stopped for lunch in the pouring rain, huddled under a plastic sheet. The soup followed by fish and rice warmed our cockles and kept us all in good spirits.

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The downhill walk to the plains and our camping spot at Huayracmachay was long but not too steep and the rain eased throughout. We were descending into the clouds at this time so never got to see either of the mountains we had passed. When we arrived at Huayracmachay our tents were set up and the chef was working on dinner. The valley were were in was meant to be pretty but we couldn’t see more than 50 metres in either direction. We chatted and got to know each other before heading to bed at 9pm. Me and Stephane were sharing a tent while, naturally, Joost and Marije had a tent of their own, as did Elvis.

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We awoke at 7am on the 17th after a night of heavy rain. Our tent had just about coped while Joost and Marije’s hadn’t fared so well. A pancake breakfast and clearing sky encouraged us and we were soon on our way downhill again. The rain returned but was only a light drizzle as the highland landscape gave way to forest. DSC02969 DSC02978

Halfway down the track Marije’s knee gave up and after attempting to struggle on it was decided that Elvis would go and get a horse and bring it back so she could ride down. We sat and waited with her as Elvis ran off. Two and a half hours later Elvis still hadn’t returned. Lunch was being postponed and we realised we didn’t know exactly where the campsite was, other than ‘down’. We decided that we should at least try and make our way down the hill a bit. A few minutes after we set off, Elvis appeared with horse in tow. It was a good thing as the track quickly began to deteriorate. We crossed through creeks and waterfalls on bridges made of branches, or stepping stones. For a few hundred metres the track was a mud slick where we were glad to make it through without losing a boot. It would have been very difficult for Marije to make it down here on foot.

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We arrived at Colcapampa at 4:30pm and wolfed down our very late lunch. Elvis was especially deserving since he’d had to go all the way to camp, get the horse, bring it back and then return with us! Dinner was only a couple of hours later in the same place and after a lesson on the Inca gods from Elvis and a game or two of cards we went to sleep.

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