Santa Teresa Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
We set of before dawn after warming up with some coca tea and breakfast. Began our 3 hour morning assault on the summit of the Salkantay pass (15,252 ft.), it was to be a 1,100 meter assent from our base camp at 11,808 feet, where already most were suffering from a little altitude sickness -- headaches, shortness of breath, stomach problems and vertigo.
Once again we began straight up into the Andes. Soon lush green carpets of moss and brush began to make way for black rock and torrents of rivers, waterfalls and ice. The going was hard with muddy conditions, icy rain, wind and fog. About 3-4 hours later we were at the summit pass. I was incoherent and reciting movie quotes to get me going.
After the Pass, all downhill. Actually even harder than up. Very steep, slippery and almost impossible without a walking stick for balance (which I had barrowed from one of the other hikers). Once again the scenery changed -- black rock and ice began to give way to green moss and small brush with still thousands of streams and waterfalls. As far as the progress of the group, it was obvious who the expert hikers were -- the Germans had just hiked in Nepal, the Swiss loved to hike in the Alps and the two women from IBM had Kilimajaro
Another 3 hours after the summit we were now in a different climate but with pouring rain, hopping from rock to rock to avoid freezing and turbulent streams of water.
If I thought the 2nd day was tough, the 3rd one would be incredibly dangerous...