Salcantay - Machu Picchu // D3
Our third day was our last day of heavy trekking, we woke up at 5:30AM, had an amazing breakfast, refilled our water and got off to a great start. Rhiannon's blisters were so bad she couldn't join us so she took the bus to Hidroelectrica. Saturday was my favorite day, the weather was tropical, the sun was out and even though I hadn't been so sore since my teenage overweight years the landscape made everything worth it. The skies were crisp, the sun bright, and the smell of last nights rain could be felt through the soil.
We walked for 4 hours from the campsites to lunch, we ran into the other group along the way and had lunch at the same site. Goodbyes were quick and our half headed towards Santa Teresa. We rode a late 90's Toyota van with questionable suspension, I grew up in this environment and found the experience reminiscent of the adventures with my family throughout my youth, but everyone else in the bus was extremely surprised by the narrow roads, cliffs and incoming traffic, it seemed like a heart attack approached them with every turn.
The bus driver was playing Amy Winehouse, which seemed like a cultural anachronism and a strong reminder of how much culture around the world has been influenced and maybe even watered down by American culture. It was a short drive, probably around 1 hour until we arrived to Santa Teresa. When we arrived we realized ben had forgotten his backpack with his camera in the lunch station. He couldn't believe it, but by this point everyone was quite relaxed and it was understandable for him to let his guard down. Simba our guide reacted swiftly, his phone didn't have any signal but he looked for one with diligence, we finally found a young bodega keeper that helped us locate the people at Hidroelectrica, the backpack was still there! Simba asked the guide of the other group to send it down with one of the Kombi drivers that was on his way. We had to wait for another our instead of starting the walk to Aguas Calientes right away but it was ok, we enjoyed the break and the extended goodbye with the rest of our group.
The backpack finally arrived and we took a small Kombi to the actual dam where Hidroelectrica was, and this is where we started our walk to Aguas Calientes, the altitude was even lower Cuzco, about 2500 meters above sea level and the weather was shifting from overcast to sunny. The vegetation and everything around us became even more tropical, giving the whole experience an "Indian Jones" feel. we walked along train tracks for 4 hours until we got to Aguas Calientes. It was amazing to see the different people along the way, tourists from all over the world, and how many bodegas and little hostels had been opened in the middle of the jungle to accommodate the visitor's flow.
We arrived to Aguas Calientes at around 5:00PM. We were tired but the feeling of accomplishment was greater. We slept in a hostel that night were we met other backpackers that had done a similar trek to ours the past week. We planed to meet for dinner at 6:30PM, so we took turns in the shower, I went last, and as I was in the bathroom I heard a crazy sound come from outside followed by Ben and Maxwell screaming "Nico, Nico hurry up, come out!!" I rushed out of the shower to see Maxwell had broken one of the beds by bouncing on it while getting "hyphy" to the sounds of 2 Chainz. We tried fixing the bed by banging the planks back into the frame but we created such ruckus that one of the hostels employees came up to our room. She eventually saw Maxwell was a giant and she understood the bed not taking his weight, they were extremely kind and reallocated us to a new room quickly.
We all got dinner with our new friends at a local restaurant and got to know each other over some Pilsens (peruvian beer). Finally headed back to the hostel, still laughing about the bed incident but feeling great after a full meal, some beer and the lowest altitude we had been at for days. We all had Machu Picchu on our minds, so we went to bed early, or at least tried to, because the whole town was celebrating that night and fireworks went off pretty much until 4:30AM which is when we woke up.