El Choro - An Inca Trail

El Choro Travel Blog

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Well hello 4900 meters (Starting point)

After staying at the lovely Norka´s apartment for a few days in the "big" capital city, it was time for us to get out and explore some nature. We woke up early on Thursday morning to get going with our hike. Due to a little bit of stomach illness (it happens when you travel) we did not get to the beggining of our path as early as we would have liked. We took a bus from La Paz about 30 minutes outside (and up) of the city to the beggining of the trail. During our bus ride we were stopped by the police who were in full riot gear with their huge tear gas guns, uzis, and shotguns. Apparantly there was a strike organized in Coroico.

Em hiking down the mountain, passing by Inca ruins (1st day)
I guess we looked innocent enough so they let us pass. When we started on our hike it was raining - little did we know this would be the theme of the trip (apparantly March is rainy season in Boliva). It was beautiful none the less. We started at 4600 m and climbed up to 4900 m. Carrying a huge pack at 4900 m is a recipie for not being able to breathe at all. This was just a short part of the trip and soon we were descending. We went down large Inca steps and came upon some ruins. The trail that we were hiking was a road that connected the Incas who lived in the altiplano with the Incas who lived in the tropical region so the ruins were old storage facilities where they kept goods for trade. Breathtakingly beautiful. It started to rain harder and it was getting colder and D´s stomach illness was running its course.
The clouds holding onto the mountains and the Inca trail (2nd day)
Finally we arrived to a small town after 5 hours of hiking and camped on the front of a school because there was a roof over us and the camping site (the soccer field) was soaked.

The next morning we hit the trail early. As we hiked, we noticed that the climate was begining to change. It was becoming more hot an humid. At one point, Danilo said out loud ¨we are in the tropics now¨ and he was right. During the second day of our hike, we descended over 1000 m on really slippery rocks. It was very taxing on our bodies and with the packs our balance was off so we slipped and fell a lot. The scenery however was gorgeous. Because there is so much water, everything is incredibly lush and green, or covered by the water itself in form of fog or clouds. There were also numerous waterfalls and a large raving river running between all the huge green mountains.

Passing through a hanging bridge (2nd day)
Every 3 hours or so of walking we would encounter small towns (5 to 10 houses). Here we would buy food, rest, and children will ask for candy and even our food, even though they were well feed. Its the Pavlov effect, tourist = food, which is annoying to say the least. By the end of our second day we had walked almost 7 hours and were muddy, hungry, and spent. We cooked food, and passed out, although our sleep was interrupted by t-storms.

Our third day was more of the same beauty covering 18 kilometers of hiking. Although most of the hike was nicer on our bodies, as the trail ran along the side of the mountains (about 8), there was a murderous switchback that took us down for 50 minutes, and up in 25. The switchback was aptly named the La Cuesta del Diablo. Drenched in sweat we completed the last 3 hours looking over the valley as apparently we left behind the heavy clouds and storms.

Finally coming down the mountains into the subtropics (3rd day)
Our camping site was nice enough, Danilo took a cold shower, Emily went for the Mexican variety, and we were ready for our next day. Too bad that another storm hit us in the form of the heaviest, longest rain either one of us has ever seen, and thus the water came from below us as we realized at three in the morning that though the roof was doing its job the ground had turned into a little creek. After much work we moved the tent and eventually passed out. Here we found a cool person from Japan, who had lived here much of his life, and had been recognized as protector of the forest.

Our last day was relaxed, disturbed by cows, bulls, donkeys or maybe horses,  rain, switchbacks, Germans (actually they were quite nice), and Bolivian botanists (who were not and carried plants in their backs). Either way, our bodies sore and exhausted, our calfs and knees made it through the last 1000 meters of downhill and after three hours we were in a middle of a little town connected through a dirt, narrow road, to the city of Coroico .

 

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Well hello 4900 meters (Starting p…
Well hello 4900 meters (Starting …
Em hiking down the mountain, passi…
Em hiking down the mountain, pass…
The clouds holding onto the mounta…
The clouds holding onto the mount…
Passing through a hanging bridge (…
Passing through a hanging bridge …
Finally coming down the mountains …
Finally coming down the mountains…
El Choro
photo by: rendacortes