Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Salkantay trek

Beautiful tree on the trek.
There is only one trekking path from Cusco to Aguas Caliente and Machu Picchu which can be done without the guide. It takes four days. The second day one have to go over the high pass at 4600m and afterwards descent through the jungle. This is an alternative road towards crowded Inca trail.

We started with getting a collectivo 4 o'clock in the night from Cusco and we reached Mollepata at 7 o'clock. After delicious
Full of energy hikers a at the beggining of trek.
breakfast that consisted of rice, french fries, eggs, meat and tee we started our big trek. Full of energy we needed to climbed quite a bit that day. We were not the only group on the path, but we were almost the only ones that decided to do this route on their own, without the guide, porters or cooks. We had our own tent, burner and the stock of Peru-Chinese instant soups. I was a bit worry how my two companions would cope with this hike, since for them it was the first ever four days hike trip with the rucksacks and with the tent, and our aim was to climb a very challenging high pass of 4600m high!!! They had never been so high in they life, so no one knew how they organism
Swimming break?
would adopt to this altitude. And I could have recalled that my first high pass in Himalaya was a great challenge for me.

We started full of energy and motivation, keeping a very reasonable speed. Shortly after we started to appreciate great landscapes around us. For the whole first day we climbed up, up and up.

The first evening we reached the base camp for the high pass. We cooked our "delicious" Peru-Chinese soups (Asian people made them much more tasty) and fell asleep immediately after appreciating amazing night star sky. One is seriously much closer to the stars if he sleeps so high in the mountains. Because of the high altitude, it was supposed to be the coldest night on our trek and it was a bit chilly.

Happy hikkers on the high pass!!!
The next day was THE day. We walked up early and departure to reach our high pass. My sister had some first symptoms of high altitude sickness but without major difficulties we managed to reach the pass. It was a great feeling for all of us. Since it was a Easter Sunday we shared cookie instead of Easter egg and wished each other all the best. We took some photos from this point, but we had to continue since it was too cold and we had too long distance to cover that day. During descending the surrounding was changing dramatically fast during this day. Initially we were surrounded by stones and small plants, gradually there were more and more plants and finally we entered jungle.

Would not you like to rest in a spot like this?
The road down was even more challenging than the road up. The biggest problem were that Maciek and mine knees were hurting. Luckily we did not had a tight schedule.

On that evening we reached our camping place just before a sun set and when I put my back pack down one metal-plastic plate of the two back straps that holds the backpack to my shoulders..... broke down. Till now I was extremely happy about my Gregory pack rucksack. Thanks to the huge and very stiff waistband this was the most comfortable backpack I ever had on mu shoulders. In the morning, with Maciek help using a piece of rope, duck tape and zaps
MacGyver repaired backpack.
we managed to repair it somehow. In the next morning I very carefully put the rucksack on my back....... And than suddenly it broke again.... but the other strap. What is a probability that two shoulder straps get broken almost in the same moment? Luckily we had enough duck tape and zaps to repair this one as well. I was very careful with caring my backpack afterwards putting all the weight on the wrist , and our MacGyver repair held for the whole South Peru time!!!!!!

The third day was a mud challenge day. The path was very wet muddy and steep. It was also a Wet Monday in Poland (Lany Poniedzialek).
In the jungle.
The day that Polish people are pouring water on each other. Great fun. This day we could skip pouring water on each other since half of the day was dripping water from the sky.....

Surrounding jungle was beautiful and intensively green. We hiked along the river. In the afternoon we were still significantly far from our destination but we were already on the road and despite of landslide on one side, there was a truck that was driving in our direction. We stopped it and we jumped at the back of it. I was very happy that there was a possibility to introduce to Gosia and Maciek this way of transport.
At the back of the truck.
They really enjoyed it. I consider hitching at the beck of the trucks in the mountains as a great way of traveling. In the evening we reached the village and finally we were able to enjoy decent dinner.

Unexpectedly in the village we met a polish guy that lived right now in Canada, Andrzej. We hiked together the fourth day. This day we climbed a very scenic Llactapata ruins from which we noticed Machu Pichu for the first time. From this point we had climbed down on the extremely steep and slippery road. Our road down  to hydroelectric plant took much longer than expected.

This light is... upcoming train.
Aguas Caliente, which is a small town closed to Machu Pichu, is squeezed in between the mountains and there is no road connecting this town with the rest of the world. The only two ways to get there is either hiking or taking a train. The train tracks are a engineering masterpiece built by a polish engineer Ernest Malinowski and which is the highest altitude railroad in the world. The tourist train on this tracks is nowadays the most expensive one in the world.

From hydroelectric plant to Aguas Caliente it was very challenging train tracks trek.
Challanging train bridge.... especially in the night.
We were very tired, it was raining and it was dark. Moreover we decided that we want to try to go to Machu Pichu the next day, so we needed to buy tickets the day. We were told that the ticket office is closed at 10 o'clock in the evening so there was high chance that we reach Aguas Caliente till this time.

Explorers of Inka ruins.
This was tough but amazing walk just next to river. We hiked for three hours in dark, it and we had to cross several train bridges. Some of those bridges were kind of fun and challenging.

Finally we reached our destination, but the ticket office was apparently closed one hour earlier than we were told. We decided to take a day off in hot springs and climb Machu Pichu the following day.


  1. interesting experience thanks for sharing

  2. great Salkantay trek experience thanks for sharing images i like your movie clip most