We’re sitting at a table overlooking the river in Aguas Caliente, at the base of Machu Picchu in Peru. We arrived in Cusco 5 days ago. 2 days ago we started a 3 day trek to here, and mountain biked down 2300m vertical of spectacular mountain scenery, then jumped into rafts for 90 minutes of fun. Yesterday we trekked about 20km along the river and into the mountains towards Machu Picchu, finishing in a fantastic riverside hot spring. Today started with 2 hours of zip lining back and forth across the valley, then 3 hours of walking to where we are now. We will be up at 4:30AM tomorrow to be ready to get to the entrance of Machu Picchu when it opens at 6AM.
We’ll head back to Cusco tomorrow evening, and next day (Sunday) we’ll be up early to start our next trek. This one is a biggie. We’re doing a 4 day very high altitude trek on the Mt. Ausangate circuit. Sleeping at 4700m, and doing several very high passes – one at 5200m (17200ft). This will be very challenging, and we know that many groups turn back. We have altitude medicine and will buy some “oxy-shots” for dealing with panicky shortness of breath. We have a local guide and a horse wrangler – one horse for our gear, and one “backup” horse in case one of us needs to do an emergency exit. We’ll use our own tent but have rented down sleeping bags as we’ve been told to expect -15 deg C temperatures at night. Scenery is supposed to be stunning … if we can see anything for the clouds. We expect snow storms in the afternoons. As always …we’ll update you on the blog later!
Here are a few thoughts from us today:
“I never thought my first white water rafting would happen during a thunderstorm in the twilight” (Kaia)
“Today’s zip lining was the best of the trip so far. Some of the lines were more than 200m above the ground” (Jake)
“The hot springs felt great after a 7 hour hike and soothed my dozens of black fly bites” (Yvonne)
“Aguas Caliente is surreal. A bustling tourist town squished into a tiny spot in a valley surrounded in every direction by towering, vertical mountains. Surprisingly quaint, considering 3000 people arrive every day to prepare for Machu Picchu experience.” (Cam)