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Exploring the Salkantay Trail and Machu Pichu in Peru

This past September, my friend Chris Shybut and I spend 10 days trekking through Peru. During the trip, we explored all over, and had some great adventures. The trip also forced us to brush up on our Spanish – a much needed refresher.

During the urban parts of the trip, we explored the cities of Lima and Cusco, including grabbing food at street stands, listening to live music in trendy restaurants, hanging out in countless plazas, hanging out with the locals, witnessing a fight or two, and paragliding high above the Lima metropolis.

Heading into the mountains, we completed an extremely rugged four day trek on the Salkantay trail, averaging about 13 miles per day, and topping out the trek at 15,200 feet above sea level in a driving blizzard. We also set off on mountain bikes to  explore the ancient Incan agricultural experiments of Moray, and marvel at the thousands of terraced salt mines of Maras.

To top it off, we had a great time fully exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu, including an extremely steep hike up to the top of Wayna Picchu.

During the trip, I traveled with two cameras – my Apple iPhone 4, and my Canon 5DmkII. Having both an ultra slim camera phone and a full size SLR at my disposal gave me the ability to shoot in most situations. I usually carried the iPhone in my pocket, and had a LowePro slimline case for my SLR. The case had an attachment loop on it which allowed me to attach it to the waistbelt of my backpack – this way, I had access to both cameras while we were hiking. I also brought along my carbon fiber travel tripod, and a bunch of other random accessories. I shot with one lens – the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L, which gives a great range of focal lengths, in a weatherproof, burly, high quality package. The lens is definitely on the big and heavy side, but it’s still a pleasure to shoot with. I shot in RAW on the SLR and full res JPG with the iPhone. Overall, there were about 2800 photos, which was edited down to a 104 photo consumable set.

Enjoy the photos, videos, and daily logs of our trip. The logs were written by both Chris and myself at the end of each day using Notepad and WordPress applications on my iPhone 4. We tried to put in as many details as possible into the daily logs, but if there’s anything else you’d like to know about the trip, just ask.

Daily Summaries

Q&A

Q. What was your favorite part of the trip?

A. My favorite part of the trip was definitely interacting with the local Peruvians. It was a great opportunity to practice my spanish, and the Peruvian people as extremely friendly, outgoing and warm. I was surprised that everyone we passed said hi, and was always up to talk about whatever.
Q. Did you guys stay in hostels or couching or where?
A. A combination. The first two nights in Cusco we stayed at the Casa De Campo Guesthouse. Then, we spend three nights while hiking the Salcantay trail staying in our REI Half Dome 2 Tent. Then, we spend two nights staying in the Wiracocha Inn in Aguas Calientes, another night at the Loki Backpacker Hostel in Cusco, and the final night at our friend GP’s apartment in Lima.

Getting the Parachute started

Video Clips

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