High Ho, High Ho, It’s Up the Moutains We Go!

524328_391988864189858_1617323109_nToday was the day that we would begin the hike through the Andes Mountains. The hike we were going to do is called the Lares trek, we did this trail because the actual Inca trail is so crowded with tourists you don’t get the actual feel for the locals and scenery as well. When we reached where the trail started we met our crew who would be accompanying us on the hike. Our crew included about eightHighlands-20 native Peruvian men who would be leading the pack animals, leading us, cooking, and setting up camp for us. We were also accompanied by about fifteen donkeys that carried our bags and equipment and five horses who were our “ambulances”. And so we set out and the most exhausting part of our journey in Peru. We hiked for two hours up really steep sections. Breathing was difficult because of the high altitude we are at. We stopped for lunch in a little clearing. I am sure you are all thinking I am living the uncivilized life that comes along with hiking and camping, however we were living life like kings and queens. Lunch was set up in a giant tent that had a big table with chairs set up! I have never been camping before where there were tables and chairs. There was even a table cloth with silverware set up. For every meal we ate on the hike we had soup and an entrée. The food was always delicious, all home-made, traditional, Peruvian food. At the area we stopped for lunch at, there were a bunch of abandoned Incan ruins. It was so cool, especially because I am an archaeology nerd, we got to explore all the ruins climbing all over the place, it was amazing. After lunch we set off again and hiked for another hour till we reached the campsite we would be staying at for the night. The landscape is so gorgeous all the mountains and valleys are truly spectacular. Once we 527083_391990340856377_1411969142_nreached camp, our leaders told us that there was an optional hike to go see some other Incan ruins that were grown over with trees. My friend and I enthusiastically agreed to go. Let me tell you that hike was one of the hardest hikes I have ever done. The area was so steep and the trail was all pebbles, so every step forward you slipped back two steps. When we reached the top of the ridge we were climbing, the view was incredible. However, my leader pointed out the Incan ruins we were supposedly going to check out,  but they were all the way at the bottom of the valley! we weren’t even going to hike down to them we could just look at them from a thousand feet above. I was a little disappointed the view was still amazing. While on top of the ridge, the sun began to set and it began to get cold. As the sun went down even further it became freezing. I have never been as cold as I was on this hiking trip..EVER! Before dinner we had  snacks of crackers and hot coca and tea to help battle the near Artic temperatures. Before dinner was served we all huddled in the dining tent to try to stay warm together. We played cards, which was difficult since we were all wearing mittens. After we ate another fabulous meal, we went and all laid on the ground to look at the stars. I swear if you think you know what the stars look like, I promise you really don’t. I have never seen the sky look so beautiful it literally took my breathe away. That gorgeous night sky will forever be engraved in my memory. When went to bed I filled my metal water bottle with boiling water. To sleep the night I wore my hat, gloves, three pairs of socks, 3 pairs of pants, three shirts, two jackets, and put my bottle of boiling water in my sleeping bag to hug and give me warmth. It was a cold night to say the least.

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405540_391992574189487_242208573_nThe next day we ate breakfast, helped break down camp, and set off towards our next camp. Today was a really difficult hike and our guides kept saying “just up this hill and then lunch”, but in reality it was just one really long mountain. We stopped at a really pretty stream to eat snacks and some girls played some Frisbee. When we hike, the group splits into different sections depending on the speed you like to go. One group was really fast and pretty much ran to every campsite. One group was super slow and took forever to get peru 2012 615anywhere. My friend and I were neither really fast or slow so we became the middle group. It was just me and her most of the time by ourselves. We would take our time, really soaking up the views and taking tons of pictures. At one point we were hiking through a valley that was about a mile and half long, because the fast group was so far ahead and the slow group was so far behind, we were literally the only two people in the entire valley. It was amazing, I have never been somewhere where I have been so completely alone. It was an incredible feeling. Finally we could see our campsite up ahead and we were happy to be able to rest. Today there was another optional hike to a nearby lake. My friend and I were waiting for one of the other girls to go on this hike, so the group left without us, so we had to literally run up this steep mountain in order to catch up. The lake was incredible and we made sure to take lots of pictures. As we began the climb down, the temperature dropped a lot. This night was even colder then the last because we were up on a ridge so the wind blew making it even colder. That night my tent had three people instead of two so that we shared more body heat to keep warm. At this point or campsite is at 13,700 feet above sea level.

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Check back next week to hear more!

Comments

  1. Nicole Kirchner says:

    This sounds like an amazing trip! But it sounds like it was really cold! I cannot believe that you had tables and chairs, when eating meals. You are really good at telling your story. Really interesting stuff!

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