As you may have gathered from the authors of our last blog my parents spent 3 weeks travelling with us, number one on their must do list was a trek to Machu Picchu. My Mum however was quite adamant that if she was hoofing it all the way to Machu Picchu she sure as hell wouldn’t be carrying her own camping gear, so we settled on a 4 day 3 night Salkantay Trek.
Day 1 got off to an inauspicious start when the tour company showed up late to collect us, but our fears were soon allayed when we met our excellent guides.
The days hike was very relaxed, and despite my Mum’s fears about the altitude she was a hiking machine. We got to our camp early enough to make a side trip to a near by glacier lake, though we were cutting it fine to beat sunset.
Our accommodation for the night was odd, we were “camping” inside a tarp covered barn. While it felt a little refugee-y it kept us nice and warm. A good nights sleep would have been had by all had we not been woken by someone yelling “NO!NO!NO! Button.” not sure who the culprit was or what they were dreaming about, but that didn’t stop us speculating.
Day 2 was the toughest climb of the trek as we crossed over Salkantay Pass at 4,629m (15,187ft), again the parentals were more than up for the challenge. Our guide took us through a traditional Incan ceremony involving coca leaves and rock piles at the top, we also added a Canadian touch by building an Inuksuk. The rest of the day was made up of a knee knackering long decent to camp.
That night the group was presented with two options for the following day, we could either hike (that’s what I thought we were there to do) or catch a bus to the hot springs at Santa Teresa and then walk the last 11km to Aguas Calientes. The hike was resoundingly voted out 11 to 4 (guess who the 4 where). A bit miffed not to be walking we decided to make the most of what was going to now be a very easy day by drinking some rather large beers.
Day 3 The lazy buggers that voted for the hot springs didn’t even get in the bloody hot springs. Anyhoo the afternoon was spent walking the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. Walking on train tracks does not on paper sound terribly appealing, however the views are terrific, and we even got our first glimpse of Machu Picchu.
Day 4 Very early start, we were at the gates of Machu Picchu at 4:45am ready for the hours hike up some 1800 steps to be at the main entrance for when the gates opened at 6am. The site is worth every bit of the effort it took to get there, the misty eyed look in Mum’s face confirmed that she felt the same.
We spent a few hours exploring before parting ways with our guide and the rest of the group. Heather and I, the glutens for punishment that we are, then climbed Wayna Picchu. This offered some awesome views of the main site and was a fun climb complete with cables and caves.
The four of us met up for lunch to reflect on our hike and our time in Peru together. Also there may have been a few beers sunk to celebrate my birthday, visiting Machu Picchu isn’t a bad way to see in a new year.