The Inca Trail, II

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The third morning started with a gang of roosters, who were trying to knock down our tent. Well, what else can you expect from camping in a village with an unpronounceable name. Luckily soon after roosters arrived our guide, hot coca tea in his hands. The purpose of the day was to reach to the village called Lucumabamba. The hike itself became more and more easier as the altitude lowered with every meter. Also, as we started off in the mountains, then now we had reached to a warm and a humid jungle. We walked towards a little village of Colpapampa, where the Chalan, Salkantay and Totora rivers converge to form the course of the Santa Teresa River. The paths, full of orchids and butterflies, got more and more muddy with every step, and suddenly – a huge print of a big cat! I remembered our guide’s words about seeing a puma here, which were “very unlikely, a local sees this animal maybe once every 5 years.” But the instant thought was what if this 5-years cycle starts over again today?! Fortunately, the only animals we saw on our way were horses and pigs. We reached to Lucmabamba by afternoon, had lunch, pinned the tent and visited a coffee plantation, where we got an overview of the culture of coffee (the best coffee beans grow at the altitude of 1770 m) and smelled and tasted different types of coffee berries. All this was finished with a nice cup of freshly coffee, beans roasted and grinded by ourselves. For the dinner we decided to have a BBQ and according to the tradition in the Andes – we ate a guinea pig! After the initial shock I was able to dig in and actually enjoy it.

The last day of the hike started in a chill mode – we prepared coffee, picked fresh bananas and avocados and had a proper football match. The distance for this day was only 8 kilometers, which seemed nothing compared to the previous days. We walked along the course of the Incas’ Sacred River, passed Machu Picchu’s rediscoverer, Hiram Bingham’s camp site and followed the railway, that lead us to Aguas Calientes, which is located at the foot of Machu Picchu. There we said goodbye to our support team, whined about the ordinary restaurant food, had a brief city tour and went to a hotel. After marinating in the same hiking gear for 4 days, a shower felt like the best reward. And with this feeling I finished my day to be fully prepared and awoke to discover the Lost City of the Incas.

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