November 22 – December 5, 2019
Day 409 – 422
Following being in the village of Aguas Calientes (the Machu Picchu village), we had to leave this place. Amongst the different options possible, they are usually quite expensive due to the mass tourism.
So we decided to do it our way and come back hiking. The most known trek in the area is the Salkantay trek. But for us we decided to do it backward AND to take another route that most people take, all this making it a complete different experience.
We will do this trek Mathilde and me, since Mehran and Aurora are gonna take another route.
So here is the overview of the Salkantay Ahobamba trek, that we have done in 6 days.
First part : Hiking up the tropical forest
Day 1-3 : 30,5km / + 2,200m / – 850m
From Aguas Calientes, we have to hike back along the railtrack and then we adventure ourself into the tropical and humid forest. We will follow the Ahobamba river up (thus the name of the trek) for 2 full days, nearly only hiking up.
Indeed, we start this trek at the altitude of 1,800m, which is very low. So the tropical forest part is more or less from there to 3,500m, where the no-tree zone start.
We set up the camp twice during that time, exhausted. It is very exhausting since we already have 9 days of hiking behing us, and we didnt really had time to rest for long. So we go slowly and we try not to push to hard.
Our road take us through a lot of rain (even during the day), passing some bridge overlooking the river and the waterfalls.
On the third day for lunch, we arrive at inka ruins. Unlike many other, nobody take care of them. For once, it is interesting to see how the ruins look like when they are left abandonned.
Second part : Above the no-tree zone.
Day 3-4 : 13,5km / + 1,550m / – 500m
From the latitude of 3,500m, the landscape begins to change dramastically. And this is where the interesting part begins!
We first hike through a zone where an avalanch took place 20 years ago. We can see a lot of rocks on the floor, and they are tinted with ared color.
We arrived at the house of a local guy living here. He lives here alone, in the middle of nowhere and is very happy to see some new faces to talk to. He propose us to sleep nearby on a field.
Beeing above the no tree zone means…. there are no trees. Well it seems obvious, but the tree graduatly begins to be shorter and shorter. The grass turns from green to yellow-ish.
There is enough grass area to have some animals. So we can see some cows, horses, sheeps, … We can see a lot of rivers coming directly from the glacier. You can be assured that the water is very cold!
We go through a pass at 4680m, the first out of the two of our trek.
We end up spending the fourth night between the two passes, at 4,500m high. from there, we only have to hike 350 more meters up to go though the second pass. So we spend a night between the beautiful nevados, under the coldness of the altitude
Third part : The Salkantay & the Humantay
Day 5 : 15km / + 750m / – 1,400m
The hardest part is now tohike the last 350 meters to go through the second pass of our trek, at 4,850m.
And we have a surprise over there: We have to go through the glacier of the Salkantay and we can even walk on it!
The view of the Salkantay is amazing. We have never been closer, and we can oversee the imensity of this mountain from its base.
We can also enjoy the view of two beautiful lagunas more down.
After going up, it is time to go down. We hike down to the “village” of Soraypampa.
As we reach Soraypampa, we join the other trek of the Salkantay, and its touristical aspect. This village of Soraypampa is made to ripe off money from tourists. Everything is expensive (overly) and is full of these campings/lodges/luxury hotels. But this make the village very ugly and their locals not very nice.
After spending 5 days away from everybody, only seeing 4 other people, it is very strange to come back to this kind of things.
From there, we take a short detour to the Humantay Lake, a beautiful laguna nearby. This is a main touristic activity as it is quite easily reachable and fast to do.
Fourth part : Hiking down back to the road
Day 6 : 20km / + 200m / – 1,250m
As we hike nearly only up all the trek, there is a time where we need to lose altitude in order to go back to the road and to finish this trek in the village of Mollepata
We walk down, getting away from the far away mountain on the back. We pass under the condors flying all over us. And we go back to a low altitude where the vegetation goes back to normal.
So here we are, 6 days after leaving Aguas Calientes, 17 days after leaving Cusco and even more exhausted.
We had 15 days of trekking with only one day of rest in between. So we go back to Cusco, hitchhiking, where we will spend 8 full days resting from this effort.