Did we mention the Altitude?

Did we mention the Altitude?

Written by Lauren and Jeremy

Topics: Peru 2009

Day 2 started off great, a nice breakfast buffet, coca tea and we were ready to go. We all boarded our fantastic minivan

Minivan

to head to the starting point of our adventure,  a picnic lunch in the middle a a cow pasture with manure every few feet.  Great setting for lunch!  On our way to the starting point we drove through a bunch of tiny towns, all with their own town square.  Farming seemed to be the main trade throughout Peru. No machinery was used, just hard working men, women and children.  The scenery was amazing, the Andes mountains were always in view. We got to see a few of the famous peaks named Salcantay (20,581 feet) & Veronica (18,872 feet).

Andes

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Along the way we stopped at one of the tiny towns to visit a food market. It was pretty interesting to see what they eat or should I say didn’t eat.

The Market

Cow head

As you can see they ate everything. There is not a part on a cow that they throw away! The best part about the market was the tables they had next to the dead cows to eat what you bought.

After we left the “Fresh Market” we headed to our first set of remains built by the Inca Indians

Inca wall

Inca wall

(If you look closely you will see a flower pattern in the Inca wall, which was common for them)

Inca Wall

(The crew)

After this stop we continued on our journey through small towns to get to our starting point. Along the way we stopped for tea and coffee. While there we got to see their guinea pig collection.

IMG_3269-98Gerbil's

This is actually dinner! Guinea Pig is a common food there.

Here are a couple more shots we took along the way

 

Hairless dog

Hairless dog

 

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After our relaxing tea break it was non-stop until we reached the manure picnic. The ride to the top of the mountain was just a bit nerve racking. The roads (if you call them that) were made of dirt, rocks, ditches & streams. These were the conditions as we drove up to 10,000ft along cliffs with no guard rails. Along the way the roads got so bad that our tire was knocked off the rim.

Flat Tire

(This was our last sign by the Inca gods to turn around that we ignored)

 

From here we basically started out first 5 hour hike up to our first lodge. Here are a few facts that were left out before we signed up for this.

1. The altitude we are hiking in is so high that we will only have about 70% oxygen in the air (normally 100%)

2. No matter what kind of shape you are in if you don’t get acclimated to the altitude, the hike will kick your a#$

3. None of us will get acclimated to the altitude arriving the day before hiking!

4. Don’t fill your backpack with every camera lens you have, because 30lbs on your back gets very heavy after 5 hours!

Its hard to describe how difficult it is to hike uphill at these heights, you basically lose your breath going up any type of incline.  So the first day’s hike was supposed to be about 3.5 hours, it ended up being closer to 5 hours. I dont think any of us could have been happier to arrive at our first lodge in Salkantay. The lodge was amazing. The cooked us delicious food and it had great accommodations.

Here are some pics of the views from the lodge

The view

(at dusk)

That  evening we a had a great dinner, then our guide Pepe took us outside for some star gazing. Its hard to imagine how many stars can be visible in the sky, but we were able to witness a view like no other.  We were easily able to see every constellation in the sky. The Milky Way galaxy was clearly visible. It made the first days hike worth the pain to be able to get here and see the stars at night.

Here are some pics I took that night. The lines in the pictures are stars moving across the sky. The pictures I took had a 5 minute exposure which means the stars moved that distance in 5 minutes.

Stars at night

(complete darkness)

 

Stars

 

and that was the end of day 2…….

 

Here is a full slideshow of all the pics we took that day

 

 

 

Salkantay, Peru 2009


Click here to view as a full screen slideshow

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