Trek (cont)

Santa Teresa Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
Another sleepless night...

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.

At the top of the pass, 15,252 feet and somewhat delirious...
I would take 10 steps and mumble "get to the chopper," take a break, take another 10 steps and mumble, "There is no try..." You get the idea.

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 

next on their list. The rest, including myself, were way behind.

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.

The group, I am the dork in the middle who is not wearing waterproof pants and shoes...
The pain in my legs rivaled the 22nd mile of a marathon (I know). After 2 or 3 more hours we were finally in the cloud forest. Humid, wet and teeming with life. A lush jungle had replaced moss and rock. 10 hours after we had begun our 2nd day trek, we had arrived tour our lunch site -- only a half an hour break. We were hosted by a family who lived in the middle of the jungle in a small (very small) wood and mud hut. It was filled with pets, dogs, cats, guinea pigs (food) and chickens. Like clockwork, in half an hour, we moved on. 3 hours later and a total of 13 hours of some hard core hiking we arrived at our second night camp. Once again, just breathtaking -- deep in the jungle in a small valley surrounded by huge mountains of lush green vegetation. All this time we have yet to see another Westerner and few locals on the trails.

If I thought the 2nd day was tough, the 3rd one would be incredibly dangerous...

 

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Another sleepless night...
Another sleepless night...
At the top of the pass, 15,252 fee…
At the top of the pass, 15,252 fe…
The group, I am the dork in the mi…
The group, I am the dork in the m…
Santa Teresa
photo by: rob_ert