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Peru - Quarry Trek

PERU | Monday, 20 May 2013 | Views [496]

QUARRY TREK

our group

As I said earlier, we could only put 6 kg into the duffel bag.  I opted to simply wear the T-shirt, long sleeve shirt, fleece and rain jacket.  In the end this was perfect because we kept peeling layers off then putting them back on throughout the trek.  I packed a spare blanket & emergency blanket (good ideas because it was below zero at night), tooth brush and tooth paste, comb, deodorant, soap, small towel, long johns, beanie, gloves, clean underwear and socks. I also brought a bathing suit, because I knew there would be hot springs in Aguas Calientes.  The water bottle, sun screen, bug spray, chap stick, torch, camera, a couple granola bars, money belt and passport stayed in my day pack.  For future reference, those foil packets of shampoo and conditioner would have been nice for the end of the trek. 

The granola bars were completely unnecessary.  They fed us like royalty!  It is amazing what that cook could create with a small cutting board, a big knife, and a few propane stoves.  We all agreed it was the best food we had on the entire tour.  We also all agreed that we never had a bad bowl of soup anywhere in all of Peru and our cook made the best of the best.  He even had dessert for us every night. The man was a cooking genius!!

We were also told to have 350 Sol in cash on us in the event that we have to be evacuated from the mountain, due to altitude sickness.  This would be the cost of a porter, a car coming as close as possible and a hotel room while waiting for the rest of the group.  This was put to the test on the second day, when Claire had to be taken down the mountain.

The trek started by taking us to a cave temple near the starting point.  There was a large alter and a wall with windows, but the most curious thing, to me, was a recessed cut on the inside wall.  It almost looked like a built in fireplace. How did anyone cut out the rock so perfectly square?  What was it for?

I have read theories of how they cut the rocks.  Some say with stone chisels (it was too smooth, no pock marks), others say by heat and cold and letting the rock fracture along its natural lines.  Please note the diagonal natural fracture above the opening.  And none of that accounts for the perfect square corners on the very back of the wall, where the small fruit lays as an offering.

 

cave temple   cave temple

 

We were to go a bit further by bus to the trek starting point.  There was road construction that blocked all traffic.  The trek started then and there.

Notice the switch backs in the distance behind the building.  That is where we were headed.

 

The Quarry Trek  The Quarry Trek 

 

This is looking back toward the buildings from the switchbacks.

The Quarry Trek

 

There were water falls.

waterfalls

 

There were Inka Ruins.

 Inka Ruins

 

There was a large spider. 

spider

 

There were lovely flowers barely poking their head out of the soil.

 flowers  

 

  Our accommodation was modest.

  camp

 

 But the view was breathtaking.

the view 

 

There were families proudly showing me their potato harvest.  

moountain families  

This little girl was waiting for her sister to come home from school.  They walk 1.5 hours down the mountain to school, everyday.  It only takes them 1.5 hours to skip back up the mountain to come home.  It took us 2.5 hours, barely dragging our butts!

little girl 

 

We saw works of wonder.   

wheel

 

 There were skeletons of those who worked the wonders.

  skulls

 

We walked uphill. On trails no bigger than a goat path.  

up hill  

 

 We walked downhill.  On trails only meant for goats.

down hill  

 

  We challenged ourselves, physically and emotionally. 

4459 meters

 

 We reaped the reward of victory.

victory 

 

All in all,this trek was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, yet so rewarding.  Even though I came into camp a few hours later than the boys, I still came in under the allotted time.  Not to mention they were all nearly half my age.  As previously mentioned, the only other female had to be taken down the mountain by horseback due to altitude sickness.  The guide refused to let her go on. 

We had an earth tremor one evening.  I was laying in my tent waiting for supper, when all of a sudden it felt like someone shaking my bed.  Oh, wait a minute - I am laying on the ground!!  It was actually pretty cool....

The nights were below zero, we slept in our clothes.  By the time breakfast was over, we were taking off our long underwear.  The first day we walked with T-shirts.  The second day we kept our fleece and windbreakers on, even digging out our beanies and gloves toward evening.  The third day we could have walked in shorts.  We really did dress like onions, in layers.

We got back to Ollanytaytambo about 11:00 am, we stopped at a little shop for some coca tea.  I had to chuckle when Nick ordered a Pisco Sour and the waiter muttered (in Spanish)  "but it is so early..."

We then dropped our sleeping bags at the hotel and caught the 1.5 hour train to Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu Town.

 

 

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