Today was our first day on the Salcantay trail, and was an intense introduction to high altitude treking in the Andes.
– Slept in a bit at Casa De Campo, to give ourselves a bit more time to get used to the altitude. After a full day of mountainbiking the day prior, we were definitely feeling the burn.
– Finally got checked out of Casa De Campo at noon, and got a taxi to the main mountain taxi transportation depot – a random corner in Cusco.
– Took a scenic three hour cab ride up to Mollepata, and then decided to continue upwards Sayllpata.
– Our hike started in Sayllpata at the 11,200 foot mark, and tracked along a poorly maintained mountain road – we barely saw any trucks, but passed a good amount of burros, skinny cows, and the occasional local farmer.
– The altitude is turning out to be more of a challenge than we expected. Hiking the 6.5 miles up to camp went well, but we were definitely a bit out of breath as we ascended.
– After hiking the last mile under starlight and headlamps, we finally found our campsite and set up our tent.
– Cooked the pasta w/ sauce on the MSR stove burning 85 octane gasoline.
– Finally crawled into our sleeping bags with very sore shoulders and legs. Sleeping tonight at 12,800 feet.
– Looking forward to gaining more elevation tomorrow – possibly up to 15,000 feet.