Tuesday, February 27th, 2018
Day 10 of G-Adventures Inca Heartland tour; Day 1 of the Lares Trek
27.02.2018 07:00 Hotel Casa Mama de Valle, Ollantaytambo google: -13.26131, -72.26644; Partly cloudy, 17 °C max, wind max. 14 kph west.
“The Lares Trek is a scenic, less touristic route to hike through the Andes. It is one day shorter than the Inca Trail but higher in elevation. Enjoy G Adventures-supported handmade biodegradable soap products for use on the Lares Trek.
Start early and drive (3 hrs) from Ollantaytambo by van to Lares town where the hike will start with a leisurely pace through the valley of Cuncani. Hike 4km (2.5 mi) to Chancachaca then stop for lunch. Be sure to rest and rehydrate because the altitude here is around 3480m (11,417 ft). First days hike will be 4h30m 9km.
Continue trekking along rocky mountain paths 4.7km (3 mi) to the isolated village of Cuncani. Camp here at the Cuncani Community Campsite for the night at 3872m (12,703 ft).”
We get up in our cold Hotel. Night was cold, breakfast is basic, but ok. The bags are packed in daypack, muli duffle bag, and bag with fresh clothes for after the hike.
We are picked up by our guide for the Lares Trek, Rudi Arqque Arqque (we call him Rudy), with a minibus and go to main plaza in Ollantaytambo. There we change into a bigger bus and wait. Another G-Adventures group joins us. The boys are all anglo, huge and wide, and three german speaking girls. Average age is half of our group. They are from a 18tothirthysomething tour.
We start the drive from Ollantaytambo main plaza to Lares (3 to 3.5 hrs). Rudi introduces himself, assistant guide Popeye and the driver with a lot of breathing and emotion in the microphone and explain basics about the Lares Trek. “ohlalala sinjorita”. It seems that he did this speech some times before. We will not be bored on this hike …
We stop by in the small village of Lares. We park right at the local market to buy some fruits or pencils for local kids. Then we check if we all have plastic ponchos for the rain. Rudi shows local energy drinks, fruits and food.
We continue with the bus through beautiful valleys up to Abra de Lares (4.461 masl) to the starting point on a gravel road somewhere above the Aquas termales Lares and get out of the bus there.
27.02.2018 12:06 S 13°06.6492′ W 72°03.2587 3.345 masl
The mules to carry our duffle bags are already waiting. As soon as we leave the bus and take out our daypacks, it starts to rain heavily. We put on our plastic ponchos and start to walk up.
We hike approx. 4 km all the time uphill through the Cuncani-Valley to Chancachaca and get lunch there. Lunch is soup, main and desert. The size of dishes makes the big Australien, US and English boys suffer. They take all left overs from the girls in a second. Rudi is on 110 % energy and talks like a machine. After lunch the guides offer us coca tea, it should help with the altitude.
27.02.2018 15:16 S 13°07.8702′ W 72°04.8646′ 3682 masl
The group is funny. The boys make fun out of each other all the time. We all work methodic on our PMA (positive mental attidude).
As soon as we pass a village the kids run out and group. Rudi is introducing them one by one and we give them presents – fruits, we bought some pencils, the guys have plastic balls, … .
After lunch we continue trekking to Cuncani, a remote village with a community operated campsite.
27.02.2018 17:56 S 13°09.8488′ W 72°04.7082′ 3893 masl
About a hour after us 70 years old Valerie from our Inca Heartland tour arrives. Popeye, the 2nd guide, lifted her up to the campsite. She doesnot look good, the altitude seems to show impacts. They guides talk to here to turn back, she wants to continue, own overconfidence. We hope she doesnot become a medical emergency on the next, harder day.
There is water toilets and a stone built shelter at the campsite. Water is, of course, cold river water only. It is super cold outside and gets dark quickly. Some have headache of the altidude, the US and Ozzi boys still wear shorts and order beer from the villagers, who come to sell goods (mainly beer or stronger goods).
CEO (chief experience officer) rudi takes up speed. He picks out his playing cards and explains a game called “shithead”. Soon nearly all are playing and freezing.
Rudy wants us to give ourselfes a group name. Somehow it doesnot get “waiting for Valerie” but “soaky Condors” instead.
Rudi does the famous “Oh lala senioritas”, which will be quoted by the boys (beside his laughter and other noises like “hola chicas”) approximately 23.000 thousend times.
End of first hiking day. It is cold up there … we hiked about 8.7 kms only, some about 500 meters altidude up.