Thursday, 24 April 2014

Salkentay trekking

So the first day of the trek is finished and it was reasonably good going. The day started really early at 5 getting up for the bus and waiting for it to grab me. Then a 2 hour ride to get breakfast before another hour bus to the start of the trek. The group contains 2 Americans, a French couple and a Brazilian couple. Now I was hoping for a chance to practice some more Spanish but none of them speak Spanish very well so no chance there. However back to trekking. The first spot on the trek is at 3450 metres and then we started the slow climb to the camp site at 3900 metres that is about 12km away. They have an ingenious system built into the mountains to not stop people at streams which can become rivers during high rainfall, basically there is a dam which has an overflow in use all the time this is then dammed up. There is then a sluice that can be opened to dump the contents of the dam into the river, this gives a set of trekkers time to pass in which the river is blocked.
We reached the camp site shortly before 2 and had lunch straight away which was a really good meal. After the meal we headed up to a freshwater lagoon which is fed by the glacier on mount Umanty. On the way up we saw an avalanche, thunderingly loud and looked very much like a very small waterfall. The lagoon itself is beautifully blue and at a height of 4300 metres. I am feeling the full effects of the height and getting out of breath after 30-40 metres, two weeks in Cusco don't seem to have helped at all strangely. But the views are staggeringly beautiful and I have been taking pictures on my phone but will need to find a proper computer to get them as my pad doesn't want to get them off. The area is quite rocky with lots of green grass but very few trees and became more rocky the higher we climbed.

So day 2 this is a long one apparently, up at 5 in the morning and we have to get up to 4650 metres before we head downhill given the difficulty of the lagoon trek its going to be hard, but at least last nights sleep was good and not too cold also breakfast was good this time eggs in an omelette and bread along with hot chocolate.  Well the climb was a lot less than I thought it might be, but the path did zig and zag all over the place but I managed to get a second pole as I worried about my knee but it gave me little trouble during the day. We reached the top in quite a quick time and joined the others who had rented a horse to get them to the top as they had struggled the day before. We then started the downhill towards the lunch camp, lunch was a good affair really and the food has all been good quality so far. After the lunch the landscape changed quite dramatically and we headed in to the high jungle, the path became more muddy and there were obvious gaps where a landslide had taken place and wiped the path out and a new one had been hewn into the mountainside. After a full 13 hours we reached the camp site for the night a little village nestled in a gap of the valley by a river which we had been following since it started in the mountains. Time to get some food and head to bed. Awesome day.
Everyone was really struggling from the massive second day, but we carried on through the day with the same determination. The landscape had change quite a bit and we were definitely in the jungle now and the little water fly's that had bitten me so badly in the Amazon were back and the back of my legs are covered with little bites. The third day of the trek wasn't too long about 6 hours before we had lunch, then another two to the camp site for the evening. Before dinner we got a chance to head to the local hot springs which was awesome, they have made three pools by the hot springs and you can dip into any of the temperatures for only 5 soles, about £ 1.20 :) This was very needed after the previous days hikes and was very relaxing. We got there as it was getting dark so the picture from my phone are useless unfortunately. In the evening we had a team meeting as the next day was going to be as long was the second but we could swap the train for a bus and switch it to just a 4 hour hike over flatter terrain. We ended up having the choice made for us as the campsite became a part zone with loud music played until about 2 so we ended up joining the 30 other trekkers and dancing to the tunes while drinking.
Day 4.
This was somewhat easier a sort of flat trek mainly along a railway line to aguas callientate, the town under the watchful eye of maccupitu. We got a few glimpses of the city from the ground, my phone did not have a good enough zoom but you can tell the city is there from the ground now that the site has been cleared. We stayed the night in aguas calliente, I put into a very budget hostel, I had hot water, which was scolding only to shower in. No toilet paper, not that the toilet flushed, the room was very cold because the window had a big hole in it and the TV did not work so I couldn't even distract myself. But it didn't matter because we had to be up early as the next day was maccupitchu day..........