04.08.2011 - 14.08.2011
This one will be brief and I'll let the pictures do most of the talking!
After the last post we started our 3-day Lares trek prior to going up to Machu Picchu. What we didn't understand is that it was a three day trek through what was one of the paths connecting villages around the Machu Picchu area, but would not lead us directly to Machu Picchu. The Inka Trail hike will however it is so crowded and touristy we were happy to be on the trek we were... we literally only saw the people that lived on the trail the whole time... no other groups at all. Which apparently the Inca Trail people are constantly passing other tourists.
So the first day we did a tour through the Sacred Valley, this is where many many villages are and were. Our guide was actually born in the Sacred Valley and his mom still lives there.
One of the villages we stopped by (this is before the actual trek) is sponsored by GAP Adventures. We are allowed to stop by and buy goods from them, take pictures, and they show us from the alpaca to the toque what happens... and GAP gives their husbands and sons jobs as porters and herdsmen at a fair wage when they are not farming the land.
Okay... picture time! This is were the toque starts!
After being died with natural bug parts and such... the ladies spin the wool and roll it up...
While running after kids... these woman are still knitting!
The off to the ruins! An old town in the Sacred Valley
Although we are at close to 3600m... still no altitude issues!
Steve really digs this stuff...
Our last night in a real bed before getting ready to camp... and look at the blankets Steve found in his bed!
Bright in the morning we hit the trail!
Our first outlook point! If you look to the right you can see the town we started in
Prior to the trip, we pooled our money and bought bread for the kids along the trail. Some other trails they allow you to bring candy, but these kids do not have the proper dental hygiene habits for sugar like that and bread is just as much of a treat to them and their teeth stay happy!
Another peak hiked and we found SNOW!!! Probably around 4300m at this point. Breathtaking... literally, it's hard to breath that high up!
More cute kids!
The highest peak at roughly 4600m
The boys had to check out the lake at the bottom... surprisingly warm!
And the final group shot... including all the guides, cooks and porters! Great team!!!
Then MACHU PICCHU!!!
What is that behind us???
The agricultural tiers are truly a wonder
More of us...
Guess who else made it! BACKSIDE!!!
To keep the grass down... alpaca's were brought in to mow. (And ride!)
The we celebrated!!!
Steve found another man-crush...
We found a passed out dude in the bar...
I tried to imitate it... think I did pretty good!
The next night we were part of the Pachamama (Mother Earth) ceremony to bless the new hostel with our favourite hostel guys. Apparently the Inka new year is August and the only time this ceremony can be held is the month of August because that is when the heart is the most open. The whole process took about 4 hours and involved all of us to be drinking and passing the bottle around the circle... hence the pictures are not awesome! :D
First the two owners had their Coca leaves read... all looks good there for the business!!!
Then they created the offering... each different element to the offering has a meaning, really quite interesting!
Then outside they created a firepit of poop
And burned the offerings
The whole process was VERY interesting, but because of the drinking the pictures aren't very reflective
A day of shopping later and we had to come home.
One last Peruvian beer in the airport
And 26 hours later we were greeted by Tyler and Melissa in Edmonton.
Great trip, great memories and happy to be home with our great friends and family!!!