Saturday, April 4, 2015

Peru: Hiking to Choquequirao Part III

We were up early the next morning. Each day, the cook came by the tents with a cup of hot coca tea for everyone. It was a lovely way to wake up. We were again treated to a delicious meal and even some snacks to take along - some cookies and a piece of fruit. Along the way, there were very small stands selling drinks and there were plenty of places to refill our reusable water bottles.

First we had to traverse the Apurímac River by way of a cart and pulley system. It was a little scary for me but great fun. Then we would embark on the most physically challenging day so far. We'd hiked up to 3000 meters, then back down the valley to the river. Today, we would hike up the other side in an intense series of seemingly never-ending switchbacks.

We hiked with another small group of two. They were great ladies from Canada, a mother and daughter. Here they are, the first to cross the river. They were in amazing shape and were constantly leaving us in the dust.

 Our guide is laughing at my man, who is very helpful and has decided to push the ladies across.

The river during crossing.. made more eerie by the fact that there had been a construction accident the day before we got here. Three local men were killed when a boulder fell, knocking them into the river and drowning them. It was unfortunate to hear of such a tragedy and I was very sorry for the family and friends of the dead, who we saw carrying the bodies out (as there is no helicopter or road access to this area.)

Once we crossed, a tremendous challenge awaited.. but I knew that at the end of the day, we would reach our most distant campsite.
The locals, and their mules, had no problems basically running up and down the trail. It was stunning to see (as you are gasping to catch your own breath.) We did encounter other tourists, though not many. Most were just as exhausted, if not more so, than us.

At some points, the river was no longer even visible and it was easy to see the incredible progress ..

  .... and the huge heights that were being reached.
Beware of rock slides! The trail wasn't dangerous, though I was glad to have hiking shoes with good soles. There were many parts with loose gravel and lots of chances for slips and twisted ankles. There aren't tons of precipitous drops, but you still have to be careful because there are no railings.

We reached a small homestead and had a chance to sit down, enjoy a drink and soak in the view. Before long it would be time to continue, and we hadn't even had lunch yet!


See the rest of our journey -

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