Translated from my 2005 diary:
We woke up at 4AM and a bus picked us up at our hostel to drive us to where the trek starts, at a little city called Ollanta (or something similar).
I was researching Ollanta and the closest name I found was Ollantaytambo, a town on the bottom of Salkantay Mountain, although all websites indicate that Salkantay trail actually starts at Mollepata. Not sure here if I wrote the name completely wrong, or perhaps things have changed since my time, or even if our tour company was very different and we actually started in Ollantay. Anyways – Im so sorry I cant be reliable for info, but I hope you enjoy my honest writings.
The ride took about 1h30m, and in between my naps I’d open my eyes to see beautiful landscapes through the window. Getting in Ollanta, we had breakfast and started walking.
I was wearing two pants, a wool sweater and a jacket. At the first little town I already took out a pair of pants and the jacket, and tied both at my waist. Today the heat was intense, and on the first four hours of walking I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it to the end.
I remember a real scene of a woman crying on top of a horse: she was part of another group, and she couldn’t make it to the end. Quite frustrating, it must be. The difficulty level of this trail must be between medium-hard, since we didn’t have much experience but we were on our early twenties, and it was tough but the guides never doubt that we could do it.
I was feeling like the worst prepared for this trail. After four hours of walking, climbing up mountains and sweating a lot, we stopped for almuerzo. It was a relief, we could finally rest decently. The cook prepared a small soup app and a big spaghetti plate, it went down amazingly. The lemonade felt like tea, so warm it was.
After lunch we had three more hours to go, with more flat terrains than hills. Nevertheless, the hours wouldn’t go by and all I wanted was to get to the camping site ASAP. And that was only the first day!
The night, when we were finally at the camping site, was worthwhile. The sky was gorgeous, and we hanged out around the bonfire before heading to the refectory tent. We were given popcorn, cookies, tea, chocolate and coffee. After filling up on these snacks, they brought up dinner (we couldn’t believe it, our bellies were already so full): soup and a plate with rice, trout and fries.
Apparently tomorrow is to be the hardest day, I don’t know if I can make it!
Ah, and it was great when, at the meals’ tent, we got to know our hiking group: 9 Brazilians (us 6 + 3 others), 2 Dutch girls, 2 Chileans, 4 Quebecois plus two other Canadians. We each sang our national anthems, and told jokes in English.
Everything is very roots: no bathrooms (that would be anywhere behind bushes), no showers, and inside the tent just the sleeping bags. Ai ai.
A funny story from the ‘no-bathrooms’ situation: Clarissa needed to go, but was afraid of going somewhere dark by herself. Leo offered to take her, and apparently she held up his calves for balance, but it took quite a few farts before she could actually relax. He was like: “no, not number 2”! This is what real friends are made of.
I’ll stop here for now – might have to do one post per trail day so this read is not tiring – but come back for my next one? I think there’s a Follow button somewhere here.