Part one of my journey is over and it's been an incredible experience to say the least. Can't imagine what the next 2 weeks of volunteer work in Lima will bring.
The last week has felt like a lifetime, which I'm so thankful for because I don't know how excited I am to be turning 25 in just a couple of weeks. I'll try to share bits and pieces with you through the week but for now I'll give a glimpse of my 5 day 4 night trek to Matchu Pitchu via the Salkantay trail. At this point of the trip I said good bye to my roommate and hello to my tour guide and two fellow travelers (a couple from Oregon) who became such a great support through this difficult journey.
First site of mountain Salkantay:
And then we got started...I think the first 20 minutes were okay...
...and then it was up and up. I might be smiling in this photo, but just moments before I'm pretty sure I was out of breath. Hiking up steep hills at this altitude for the first time, is far from easy.
After 3.5 hours we reached camp. After taking a moment to take in the view I ran into my tent to add a few more layers of clothing!
And finally the top of the pass! 4600 meters high.
I was literally in the clouds at this point!
The rest of day 2 was spent going down, down, and down! We went from snowy mountain views to the cloud forest which was very jungle like with lots of flowers, fruit and exotic birds.
Passion fruit flower:
Day 2-4 also involved lots of difficult crossings, some over water, some passings close to the edge of the mountain as a result of mudslides and wipeout of the trail.
Horsemen crossing over water:
Most of our campsites coincided with tiny villages (as in 2-3 families lived there). The areas are great because they are near running water and the families benefit by selling drinks, snacks, etc. to hikers.
I made friends with some of the village children. How cute is this little girl? She loved to see her picture after I took it, but I couldn't get her to smile.