To reach the famous Machu Picchu several options can be chosen from: direct by train (120 USD), 6h bus on the deathroad and 2h hiking, or 5 days hiking. One famous trek; the Inca trail needs to be booked at least three months in advance with an organised tour for a cost of at least 600 USD: not very much our style… So we decided to go for the alternative Salkantey trail, 5 days without guide. Two friends from the USjoined the adventure: Kegan and Tanner.
Our first day was a 1000 m hight gain on a partially very steep trail. Everything would have been fine, if Christine wouldn´t have decided to pack about 4 kg of unnecessary stuff in her backpack… I let you guess who was carrying the load for the rest of the trip…
We reached an alpine landscape with beautifull peakes surrounding us at up to 6300 m.
After a night spent in a prestine campsite at 3800 m, we started the heaviest day of the trek. We climbed a pass at 4600 m. Me with my 24 kg heavy backpack and for Christine the highest point she has reached so far. Quite an achievement knowing that all the other groups we met had their backpack carried by horses and did not look like if they would make it within the day. After what, we had to hike 1800 meters down under the rain of a tropical forest.
When we reached the campsite in the evening our energy was drained.
The third day was supposed to be the “easy” one with only 14 km and 1000 m hight loss. Most of the organised group take a car to cut this part. The path was on the steep mountainside in a beautifull jungle full of exotic and less exotic fruits. We were constantly stoping for contemplating bugs, butterflies, birds, or for eating fruits.
During luchtime we were also litterally agressed by hungry dogs and a dunkey trying to steal our food. With some very advanced trick they actually succeeded stealing the full bag of bred of Kegan.
However what we did not expect and discovered on the way, is that the path was much more challenging then it should. Recent floods have been breaking bridges, taking parts of the mountainsides and the path with it. Some of the temporary bridge were very adventurous and parts of the path pretty dangerous.
Christine mastered all the tidius sections of the trek and the scary bridges. And to finish the day with some extra spices, she could enjoy sharing the bathroom with a scorpion.
The fourth day went a bit differently than expected for us. We were staying at this beautifull campsite held by a very nice women who let us try self made honey and coffee. What we discovered too late is that the coffee grinder was also used to grind peanuts…
So we rushed with a 30 min taxi drive through the jungle to the next hospital, where luckily they started with taking her temperature and blood pressure… Good for us, the carry on farmacy of Christine made the job. We could get back on the trek in the afternoon and even reach our camping in Puente ruinas and Machu Pichu village (Agua Caliente) before the night.
Our fifth day started at 4 the next morning and we took our 1 hour race (people almost push you in the stairs) to the Machu Picchu. Went down at lunchtime, walked back 2 hours and took the bus on the deathroad for more than 6h, arriving in Cusco at 10 pm where they served a plate with soy sauce to Christine and garanted it soyfree…
All in all an amazing treck with amazing things to see and a great experience! However extreamly tough!!!