Salcantay - Machu Picchu // D2

Woke up at 5:20AM on Friday naive to the day that would unfold upon me. We had breakfast as we exchanged reports on our night's sleep. Everyone seem to have something going on, Romi was feverish, Maxwell and Ben had stomach problems, and I still had severe headache from the altitude sickness. 

Hiking above the clouds

Hiking above the clouds

We started walking and we were already tired, the coca leafs didn't seem to help with the altitude sickness and the coffee had barely woken us up. I was trying to stay positive and tell myself to push through, I'm sure everyone was doing the same. Maxwell seemed to be having an easy time with the walk, he was staying right behind Simba, I was impressed given how many cigarettes he had been smoking the previous week. 

About a quarter of the way into the hike Rhiannon realized she had forgotten her tank-top and her socks, she was doing extremely well and Simba let her go back to the first base camp to get them. She really proved her "aussiness" as she caught up with us even before we got to the halfway point to lunch. She had ran most of the way while most of us were struggling to walk. We reached the peak at 4630 meters above sea level and for a brief moment the sense of accomplishment overtook the headache. We had a small ceremony lead by Simba which mimicked the offerings and respect the Incas showed towards the Apus (mountains). 

As we started our descent to the lunch site it started to rain heavily. The way down was really steep and the decrease of elevation could definitely be felt, this was a good thing as the oxygen was slowly gracing our lungs, while the headaches vanished. We arrived at 11:50AM after trekking for 5 hours. Rhiannon had massive blisters on her feet but Romi was feeling better. 


We had lunch and waited until around 2:30 because it was raining really hard and we had gotten ahead schedule. The rain hadn't stopped, it actually got more intense but we had to start trekking again. I was really excited and looking forward to the new trail as we were venturing into a more tropical climate "ceja de selva" as we call it in south america, which translates to "eyebrow of the jungle" it's the point where the high sierra meets the jungle. 


We arrived to the campgrounds at around 6:00PM, the weather was beautiful as it stopped raining and the sky cleared out. The smell of rain controlled the atmosphere and everything looked crisp. I immediately took my boots off and then just walked barefoot for the rest of the evening. Ben and I had a couple of beers and decided to go meet the people from the other campsite.

The new group had more people our age so they were fun to hangout with. I met a girl called Valeria and I was really happy I got to practice my italian with her, it was extremely rusty but she understood spanish so we got to practice with each other. We played "sapito" a game where you throw heavy brass coins into a frogs mouth and other slots. Me and my teammate were awful so we lost both rounds, but it was fine because we bought beer for the winners ended up sharing. The night was extremely fun, and I was kinda bummed we weren't part of the same trekking or camping group with them.

I couldn't believe friday was just one day, it seemed like a couple days back since we reached the peak of Salcantay, and even a week since breakfast. We had diner and fell right asleep, dreaming about aguas calientes the next day.