Friday, September 5, 2014

Salkantay and Machu Picchu

The Salkantay trek is as much an expedition for the soul as it is a test of physical endurance. I couldn't have asked for a better experience and that is most likely due to the wonderful accommodations of Salkantay Trekking and getting lucky with even better company. The first three days were full of adventure in the form of hiking up steep terrains in high altitude, avalanches, and transportation strikes with barricades made up of boulders on the road to Santa Teresa. We had a group of 8 wonderful people and a very colorful guide that made the trip all the more enjoyable. Each day included 3 home cooked meals and an awesome team that set up our tents and woke us each morning with coca tea. 

Day one was a wonderful intro into the difficulty of day two but with the added bonus of an evening hike to a glacial lake. Day two we reached the base of Salkantay mountain (the highest point at 4600 meters) and offered up 3 coca leaves to the sacred inca mountain gods. Day three consisted of a casual 5 hour hike through the edge of the Amazon to Santa Teresa followed by a 3 hour soak in the surprisingly nice hot springs there. Then after our 3 course meal we played a German dice game called "lying max" over a box of Chilean wine. Day 4 we ziplined our way over the tree canopies in the morning, walked along the train tracks to Agaus Calientes in the afternoon, and took an epic shower in what felt like a luxury hotel in the evening. Finally, on day five we woke up at 4am to be the first to explore Machu Picchu.  As the mist rolled in and out over the mountains, we wandered through the ruins. After learning about the various temples we hiked Waynapicchu Mountain, and we attempted without much success to spot the condor shape of the Incan city from the viewpoint at the top. 

All and all it was one of those completely perfect and memorable trips that will stay with me fondly forever. The famous world wonder did not disappoint and felt just as majestic the second time around. I look forward to the day when I'll roam through its mysterious walls again.

Before shot

Humantay Glacier Lake

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