By Zachary Moses
Day 4: Over the Summit and Into the…Tropics?
We departed early this morning to start the trek to the base of the Salkantay Glacier.
…Okay, so it would have been super awesome if I’d actually gone the whole trip with the Lego people. Unfortunately, I only borrowed them for this epic shot.
We continued our climb and soon approached the Salkantay pass. We did it with only one oxygen stop! Did I mention we brought oxygen along? Crossing a 16,000 foot pass at this altitude requires oxygen and pack mules…Although I didn’t need any oxygen (probably from chewing on so many coca leaves) I was happy just knowing it was available. Plus I’ve got asthma…so…no excuses.
Everyone was tired, but exhilarated. We knew from this point forward it would be mostly downhill travel to Machu Picchu. Notice those knee braces? I’m terrible at hiking downhill. I was ever so grateful for our industrious mules. Did I mention we had those? Yeah, this is why traveling HE Travel style is a purely awesome experience!
Love, love, love mules. Thank you mules! Thank you for just being you…and having strong backs. LOVE the mule!
As we descended the trail, dry and arid mountaintops soon gave way to lush cloud forests. Eventually we saw signs of civilization as high altitude subsistence farms became visible along our trail.
We made it to our camp for the night. I managed to get one last group shot before the sun went down – so beautiful.
Day 5: To the Land of Coffee and Terraced Mountains Sides.
These majestic mountains go on forever!
This is it. Behind me is the Dark Peru we’ve heard about from that young Peruvian bear, Paddington. In the brilliant movie titled Paddington, he finds himself lost in the London Underground and…well…actually I won’t spoil it but if you have any interest, below is the trailer from the 2014 movie. The animation of the bear is outstanding, and hilarious. I’ve already spent too much time explaining this. It’s just probably on Netflix or Amazon Prime for free or something. If you can’t google it, the original book is at the library. It’s worth checking out.
Terrible things go on in Darkest Peru. See these butterflies?
They are literally laying their eggs in poop, disgusting! That makes this picture horribly hilarious. Beautiful and absolutely hilarious. This is not where I’d choose to be born… *shudder*
We soon found ourselves in yet another charming village where we stopped for a brief break. Did I mention the porters totally carry our stuff? That part is totally awesome. I basically just carried my water bottle and took pictures the whole time. My knees appreciated the respite, but I know the totally cool guy with the Donkey carrying my two duffel bags of shoes was just as psyched to rest!
A chance to use a pay toilet? YES! Total cultural experience, sweet luxury. Consider this my official recommendation.
It’s worth the wait…
The rest of our hike that day was heavenly. The ground glittered with rocks that looked like gold and silver. Every time sunlight filtered through the canopy the landscape sparkled. It was the kind of magic that no amount of pictures or words can accurately describe. Sigh…
Everyone was in a fantastic mood. Especially this chick.
I think she’s getting ready for Cirque du Soleil.
A calm started to settle upon us as we realized that we were approaching our final destination. Machu Picchu was in our not-so-distant future…but not before a restorative cup of Joe.
Next stop, we got to tour a coffee plantation and see the entire elaborate process of coffee making, wow! The whole process is amazing. Check out the video we made about it: