Published: July 16th 2011April 20th 2011
Beautiful Lares Valley
I had a really bad night’s sleep overnight. My headache lasted all through the night, I felt quite dizzy and woke up more times than I can remember. My phone battery was dead so Hannah and I were woken by one of the crew offering us tea/coffee and of course cocoa tea which both myself and Hannah were grateful for. We got ourselves ready for what was going to be the toughest trek day of all, and I really wasn’t keen on walking today. My legs were sore from the last two days, I had hardly any sleep and my headache was getting worse as we went higher. We all ate pancakes for breakfast and filled our hydration packs before getting our gear ready as went left the campsite just after 6AM. Unluckily for us, the toughest section of the walk today was the beginning, a steep and rocky ascent over the mountain pass. Turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling rough this morning, the group was frequently stopping as some people were really struggling with the altitude. Strangely enough, not long after we began walking I felt amazing, weird to be at both extremes so quickly, but I felt
Setting off on our 3rd day of trekking.
We were going uphill for almost 2 hours before finally we conquered the toughest part of the day. I was already completely exhausted and it wasn’t even 8AM. The scenery here was absolutely stunning, we had unbelievable views from high in the Andes Mountains. It was important no matter how exhausted we became to appreciate the beauty of this magnificent place, it was truly awe inspiring. As we continued on, the trail began to level out and the walk became much easier so we had more time to really take what we were doing, trekking across some of the most amazing scenery I’d ever seen. We followed the river for a good few hours before it came time to cross it, I mean jump it. A small makeshift ‘bridge’ made of large rocks crossed the river but you could hardly call it a bridge. One by one we jumped across the two rocks and across the river, it was exciting stuff, though a few of the girls decided to jump on a horse and go through it rather than jump.
We moved on as the trail was now slowly ascending. We walked for what seemed miles and
Llama's, or Alpacas, I can't really tell the difference
miles as we gently crept higher and higher into the Andes. On the way at one of our frequent rest stops, Debbie was suddenly thrown off one of the horses onto the rocky ground. It was a huge shock as people rushed to help her as she lay on the ground not moving at all. Out here in the middle of nowhere high up in the Andes, there wasn’t a worse place this could happen. Thankfully after a little assistance she stood up and was ok, she was quite shocked and would have some bruise tomorrow, other than that she was ok. We all pushed on as the trail became steeper and steeper, we were nearing the highest pass of our trip. Before we got there we walked through a very small town (when I say small I mean 2-4 people small!) where we met an old lady making a scarf to sell to passing tourists, can’t imagine business is booming up here. We stopped to watch and take a few photos and browsed what she was selling. It was amazing to think that just a few days ago we were in bustling Cusco but here as we go higher
One by one we literally jumped across the stream
and higher we found fewer and fewer people. But even still at this height there were people living in small rock and mud built houses somehow put it in perspective this beautiful country.
We were so close now, so close. The last few hundred meters were the toughest by far. It wasn’t steep at all but by now we were so high, even just bending down to do a shoelace was a huge, huge effort. But finally, we made it. The highest pass of the Lares Valley trek, higher than anywhere on in Inca Trail we were looking out over the incredible landscape at 4500M above sea level. It was a huge sense of achievement, we had walked and walked and were at the highest point. We took some group photos and thanked the guides for an amazing, amazing trip so far. After taking it all in we continued walking towards the lunch tent, we could see it again way off in the distance. Lunch as usual was fantastic, many of us went for seconds. As we started to set off again it started gently raining so we all very quickly threw on our wet weather gear. It stopped
At almost 4500M above sea level we still found locals living in this incredibly barren place.
very soon after, but at least we put our gear to the test, if only briefly. We were very lucky with the weather so far, if fact George had a good point, don’t think about it at all, just plow through, never mention it and it will turn out ok, as soon as the weather was mentioned, be prepared for rain.
After a final uphill climb, unfortunately also straight after lunch, the rest of the day was spent at a faster pace going very gradually down into the valley. Hannah was struggling a little so I kept back to walk with her. It was another few hours before eventually in the distance we could see little yellow tents. The crew loved putting our tents up where we could see them for miles, just made us walk faster. Hannah and I made it to the campsite, and took the only tent left, the furthest possible distance from where we came. We had an amazing day today, feeling great having walked well over 10 hours today, I will remember it forever. Tonight the clouds cleared and we had an absolutely extraordinary view of the stars, we were all fascinated. Hannah and
The highest point of our trek, 4500M, you can see our orange lunch tent in the distance
I skipped dinner tonight, we were exhausted, we prepared ourselves for a very, very cold night and fell straight asleep. Campsite Altitude:
4,250M Step Count:
Tent - Challhuacocha
There are more photos below