Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rainbow Mountain, Peru, November 21, 2017

What a day!  I was awake at 2:30 am and waiting for my ride at 2:50.  Ninja and I were told to be ready between 3 and 3:40 so at 4:05, when we still hadn't been picked up, she called the company to see what was happening.  By 4:30 we were finally in a taxi on our way to meet a van that had room for us.  The man who came to get us said he'd already been to the hostel and no one was there. He was lying!  It seemed like they had to do some scrambling to make room for us.  We volunteered not to go but they found seats even though I had to sit beside the driver in a seat made for midgets.  I slept most of the way so that was okay. 

We drove for 3 hours through green hills, running rivers and old, unused terraced fields.  It's beautiful country-

When we got to Rainbow Mountain, both Ninja and I rented horses for $23.66 Can but they only took us 5 of the 6 kilometers. My horse was about 20 years old and had a hard time.  So did Carmen, my porter.  She led the horse and had to stop a few times to rest.  The stirrups on my saddle were way too short and she didn't want to lengthen them for me.  Finally I started doing it myself so she helped.  I gave the horse a carrot at the end, not sure why because he didn't like it!.  After she dumped me off, I   came to this sign.  The altitude kills a person and I still had a km to go, straight uphill-

Unfortunately something happened and I lost all of my pictures on the horse the first 5 km. The scenery is beautiful.  I thought in was going to die climbing up here and didn't even notice Rainbow Mountain until I was coming down.  I have to keep my head down and eyes peeled on where I'm stepping so I don't wipe out.  This is also a view of the first half km I had to walk-

Finally I made it to the very top.  Don't the people look small!  That's how high up I was-

The colors continue in the valley to the right of the peaked area.  The red is iron and the green is sulphur-

Looking back from where I've come and unfortunately have to walk-

The huge glacier as seen from the very top-

Walking back-

You can get a ride on a horse on the way down too for $11.83 but I made myself walk.  The horses are finished by about 11:30 because most trekkers are here early to walk in the sunshine.  If it's going to rain, it's in the afternoon.  Most porters/horses do 2 trips/day.  Porters carry a bag on their backs filled with feed and here the horses were having lunch-

Still walking back-

In the center of the picture you can see white.  That's all the vans parked in the parking lot.  I still have a long way to go-

The beautiful hill side-

Sheep grazing in the valley-

This plant is sort of like lichen but not.  It's very hard to the touch and only grows at altitude-

The side of the hill was covered with it-

Having lunch-

We were supposed to leave for Cuzco at 12:40 but didn't get away until 1:40.  Then we stopped for lunch at the same restaurant where we'd had breakfast.  Lunch was a lot better than breakfast thank goodness.  Andes bread sucks.  Even though it's made today, it's still very dry and crumbly.  It took forever to get away from the restaurant but finally we were on our way back to Cusco.  There were lots of switchbacks and the road was gravel, very narrow, filled with potholes and gouged out by erosion.  Our driver was a maniac: driving way too fast for the curvy roads but we did get home quickly-

We stopped at Laguna Pampamarca for photos-

and drove by 3 other lakes.  These women were bringing home the harvest-

I'm very disappointed that I lost the first pictures of my day.  I'm glad I went, even though it was such a long and unorganized day.  I'm also glad I rented a horse for the way up - there is no way I could have walked it.  I think it's kind of false advertising about the horse because you still have to walk the toughest kilometer.  Luckily we had a beautiful sunny day so that was a bonus.

Tomorrow I'm going to the Sacred Valley.  It's a later start - 6:50, so looking forward to sleeping until maybe 5 if I'm lucky!

1 comment:

  1. This is starting to sound quite a rigorous part of your trip #understatement:)


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