Where to start… I couldn’t tell you, everything was amazing and it was an incredible experience (shared by many many other hikers, yet without getting the impression of being overrun by people)
So after spending some time in Cusco I decided to do a trek known as the Salkantay trek, it is essentially four days of hiking starting in a little town called Mollepata and moving up to the Pass between the two mountains Huamantay and Salkantay, from there it is a long walk town into the cloud forest, before you start following an inka-trail, which of course, is uphill. I don’t know how, but inka roads seem to always be uphill, in both directions.Our first day was spent on slowly climbing (well the guide called it slowly, we all agreed that there was nothing slow or gradual about the uphill) to our first base camp, just below the glaciers of Salkantay, the savage mountain, and Huamantay. The walk gave some impressive views of the mountains along the way as we were rising higher and higher.
After freezing half to death at our campsite at 4200m and some 5 degrees below 0, we set out the next morning at 6am to conquer the pass, which we reached some 4 hours later. It was freezing cold and very windy, yet none of us really noticed, as we were to stunned by the view.
Due to an unusual cold and wet week just prior to our trek, we had to walk through snow for a good hour. According to our guide, it was also a first for him, as he had not seen snow on the pass before. Even though it made the walk a little harder, it made the view all the more amazing, as the glaciers were covered in new snow and were radiating white. Once at the top we could look down on the valley in which we were about to descend. Over the valley thrones the glacier of Pumacillo, the puma’s claw.
We spent our second night stillhigh in the mountains, but quite a bit lower than on the first night, so that surviving turned out to be less of the challenge.
Our next day took us even further down into the valleys and we entered the ever green valleys of the cloud forest where we followed the rivers for the next two days. Well, we followed the river on the first day and stopped next to it,so we could take a bath in the, very cold, river. The next day we had to walk up an inka trail and then we descended from the mountain along a different river before finally arriving at Aguas Calientes our final stop.
This trip was just awesome, it’s not just the view that made it great.I had an awesome group to hike with, people with a great sense of humour and always happy to help out. A very knowledgeble and great guide, which shared our sense of humour and some of the best food I’ve had in Peru so far.