Friday, September 21, 2007

The Other Machu Picchu (Choquequirao)

Well we are back from our adventures out in the wild. Wow!!! What an amazing hike. Choquequirao was definitely the other Machu Picchu. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Our guide Sal was awesome and our cook Iheidio was spectacular. We started our trek on Monday and ended today (Friday) The total hike was only 64 kilometers, doesn’t sound that far for a 5 day hike BUT the conditions were unbelievable. If you remember in one of my last blogs I said I liked going up better, oh my god have I changed my mind. Jay and I have now hiked up so many Andean Mountains that we feel like one of the local people that don’t have cars and walk up mountains everyday of their life. If you have ever seen the extent of steepness to an Andean Mountain you would understand our pain. Actually today we feel really good. The first day was actually pretty relaxing we took it slow and had a nice time. We went down a lot which seemed nice and I will be cussing later on the fifth day because we had to go back up everything. We even got to shower 3 times over the course of our trek which we were not expecting to do. When I say shower I don’t mean a shower that you are thinking of. This was glacier water shower. WE were screaming and jumping during our shower time because it was so cold. Oh and the shower is a coke bottle with a hose running through it and holes punched in it to have the water flow. Oh and there are no walls you are covered by ponchos they have strung up to make somewhat of a curtain but not really. Oh and the toilet was just a hole dug in the ground. But wow camping was amazing. It was so wonderful to be out of the city. We really felt like we had gone back in time, well to tell you the truth this whole trip has been like going back in time. The second day, words can not even describe the amount of climbing that we did. And pictures don’t do it justice. I would say the entire day we were going at a 50 degree grade with 30 pound packs on our back. The total number of switchbacks to go up a mountain a crazy. Now if we weren’t in shape before we sure as hell are now. We camped at the base of Choquequirao the second night which was incredibly beautiful. We hiked up at 5am the next morning to try and catch the sunrise but there were clouds which gave it a mystic feel. We stayed there all afternoon and picnicked on the ruins until 1 pm. Jay and I supposedly made some hiking records with the rate we were hiking. The guide was very impressed with us and made us feel good that we were in such good shape. After this I am thinking about doing the Shut In Race ( a 17.6 mile race up Pisgah mountain) I will have to talk Jay into it. The 4th day was a breeze but they last day we had to go back up what we came down on the 1st day, o’well after day 2 I could do anything. Not a big deal. Oh the food we had on this camping trip was better than any of the food we have had the entire time in Cusco, not just because we were exhausted either. It was amazing what a person could cook out in the wild with a little camp stove. To give you an idea I will list a few things: Breakfast: fried bananas, Carmel pancakes, oatmeal, fresh fruit, coffee, chocolate milk, tea, omelet with cheese and ham. Lunch: Fruit, soup, Pasta, wonderful vegetables, cookies. Dinner: trout, chicken, pasta, rice, soup, pumpkin chicken, and then the last day we had cuy (guinea pig) much better than the last time. The only problem with eating it this time is we had to eat it in the same place they had a cage of guinea pigs. It was so sad, so here we are eating one and we see the others walking around making their little guinea pig noises. One thing that was annoying was the amount of mosquitos there were. We used our entire bottle of bug spare, and sometimes that didn't work. I am glad we got our yellow fever shots. I definitely recommend doing this hike, but only if you are in good shape because trust me it is hard. If you do get exhausted the porters have an extra horse that you can ride, we actually saw someone doing that. But that person didn’t deserve to see the ruins. It was an amazing trek and they say in 20 years it will be done excavated and be larger than Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is still wonderful but the effort put into seeing this made it even more spectacular. We will be back in 20 years so if you want to tag along. We get a massage and a facial tomorrow which I am very excited about. It is so cheap here like $20 for a 1 hour massage. Jay and I come home on Monday and hopefully we will have more adventures to come, in Taiwan! We will keep writing on the blog, so just because we are leaving Peru doesn’t mean there is not much to say and we will post pictures. Leave us a message on the Guestbook we love reading comments.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Sounds like you had the time of your lives! maybe in 20 years i would actually be in shape to maybe do it, i have a feeling i would be on the donkey! can't wait to see ya'll