Peru Expedition 2009 Part Three: The Salkantay Trek
30/07/2009 - Transport
Day 1: This morning we got up at the oh-so-beautiful hour of 2:50am. To get a bus at 5am to Mollepata to start our Salkantay Trek...
Mr O and I got a taxi to Calle Arcopata with Maggie and Pauls night bags and food bags three, where we then waited for half an hour for the others in the cold. After the others arrived we got on the bus to Mollepata for S/10 each. It was a two hour journey up and over into a valley with numerous snow peaks, it was amazing!
Once at Mollepata some of us had an all you can eat for S/5 breakfast (bread, jam and tea - no milk) before setting off on the trek. The night before we had sorted our stuff into day time necessities and night time necessities between buddies ie. we put our day stuff in my bag and night stuff in Kagg's. We then hired some men to load our heavy night bags on to donkeys.
Unfortunately, that was when the problems started - for me anyway - I found I could barely breathe and began to have panic attacks therefore I had to be taken to the lunch stop by truck. Mr O and I found ourselves crashing along in the back of a farm truck for about 30 minutes.
Once there I took photos while Mr O caught up on his beauty sleep. When the others arrived we had about an hours break before moving onto Day 2's check point. Fortunately it was mainly flat all the way and we arrived just as it got dark - and cold. That night everyone felt terrible and sleep was near impossible; although we did see some wolves round the edge of the tents. We all woke up various times in the night shivering...
31/07/2009 - Accommodation
Day 2: This morning was the start of many mornings of porridge for breakfast (joy!).
Today I was really apprehensive and had to spend all trek up the front to set the pace. I stopped a fair few times for breath and in the end Maggie had to firmly grip my elbow and half drag me up to the pass. We climbed to a height of 4900 metres at the Pass. We walked just slightly above the snow line although it was still hot.
At the top we barely had enough time to marvel at what we did before Maggie had us charging down the other side. The group practically raced to the Day 3 check point, however, as it was the same height as the night before we left with three hours of sunlight to Day 4 campsite. [I should probably mention at this point that we had to rush a bit because the guys taking our luggage on the donkeys misunderstood the time we wanted them for, so they planned to get there sooner (and we didn't want to have to carry heavy bags)].
01/08/2009 - Accountant
Day 3: it began with an early start and set off going up and downhill all the time, finally reaching La Playa around 2pm where everyone collapsed with a fizzy drink or snack.
The hard part was over!!!!!! Maggie took charge of lunch (couscous with tomato and coriander) before we set off on a very bumpy bus ride along the mountain edge to Santa Teresa's Banos Termales (hot springs). On the ride, Mr O recorded another last message (QUOTE: "Campbell, you are a freak! But we love you (...) I hope you are very happy with a calculator and have lots of calculator babies").
Everyone agreed that the Hot Springs were well deserved and VERY relaxing. Annoyingly we had less than two hours there so we made several failed attempts at a human pyramid (the Peruvians had 3 tier!), taught Mr O the basics of a breast stroke and got back to the bus for 6pm. We found the Springs very relaxing and therapeutic: the stones on the bottom were great for the soles of your feet. We then had a bumpy bus ride back during which I almost got drowned in bags. One guy broke down half way up the hill and a foreign car failed overtaking us.
At the campsite 'Inkatour' we off-loaded to the sound of Michael Jackson! We set up tent in a corner around a tree. The leaders then cooked us pasta as a reward while a huge group of us followed the music to flat ground. We then had a rave/party/goof out and we taught the Hannah Montana Hoedown Throwdown to the group and some locals. We also danced the Macarena, Las Ketchup, Soulja Boy and some other freestyle and Sophie's dad's jazz moves. It was an awesome night!! Louise and I also watched two small children dance for some other travellers to what can only be called traditional Peruvian music.
02/08/2009 - Deputy Leader
This morning we enjoyed a lie-in til 8:30am when once again we enjoyed the delight of porridge but with raisins. A monkey called Pancho decided to raid all our open tents (mainly Mr O's) and the sponges and scouring pads. Libby ended up with the monkey and a very sweet puppy on her lap.
Two groups then split up to organise food and transport out of Santa Teresa. The transport group got a bus deal of S/65 for the whole group to get to Hidro Electrica.
Santa Teresa is a rather quiet village - like a dead cowboy town - and the shops were repetitive except for the butcher's which had fly infested meat and furry hooves.
Later that afternoon a group of us walked down to the Hot Springs once more where we spent a good two hours there: running from the cold pool to the hot pool and back again. Then from the hot shower to the cold pool, to the hot pool and back again to the hot showers. Afterwards we enjoyed a drink from the Springs bar - a very spa-like experience.
We made friends with a rather awkward looking and quiet Italian guy: Jo named him Pedro.
That night we enjoyed the sounds of drunk people partying the night away and we even got a strip tease from a tubby guy: GROSS!!! before his wife (??) pulled him away and gave him a mouthful.
We fell asleep to the vibrations of club music and cheering of drunk dancers.
Part four: Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu!! :D