Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10/24 - Salkantay Lodge

We woke early and checked out of our room before breakfast as we had ro be on the road by 7am. This was due to construction on the road we needed to take. According to Dalmiro we had to pass through the construction between 9 & 9:30 am as that was the only window for traffic. Otherwise the road was closed until later in the afternoon.
We loaded 5 to a van. One van had Dalmiro and one van had the assistant guide Lis. Becca and I were in the van with Lis.
Once underway we did make one brief stop at Tarawasi, an Inca site that the Spanish had converted into a rest station on the road from Lima to Cusco. We also stopped for a bathroom break before the construction zone. We made it to the construction zone with 15 minutes to spare.
Once through we stopped for coffee in the town of Mollepata. The coffee is served as a concentrate. You decide on how much concentrate you want and then dilute with hot water. At the coffee shop we encountered our first guinea pigs. Lots of families keep guinea pigs as a source of food, like some people keep rabbits back home. This is sort of a national dish in Peru and I imagine we'll try some before this trip is over.
After the coffe break we went to a project that REI supports where local women make clothes and textiles using traditional techniques and dyes to sell to tourists. There were many beautiful thungs but we decided Portland doesn't really call for Alpaca wool clothes.

Once the shopping was concluded we drove until about 11 am. At this point we disembarked and started our 3.5 mile acclimatization hike to the lodge. Unfortunately one of our fellow trekkers is already suffering from altitude sickness so she rode the rest of the way in the van. The hike was just along the road today but still offered some nice scenery. We talked with our fellow trekkers and took pictures. We had a box lunch along the way. We arrived at Salkantay Lodge at about 3 pm. The lodge sits in a valley beneath two mountains.

The lodge is very nice. It is far enough from anything that they have two propane fired systems one generator for electricity and one for heat. The electricity is on from 6am to 11pm everyday. After that headlamps are required. We checked in and relaxed in the main rec room. Tea time arrived at 4:30pm. At 6:30pm we met for our daily brief. Dalmiro went over what we were doing tomorrow and gave us some information on the surrounding area.

At dinner one of our felllow trekkers was suprised with a birthday cake. After a delicious dinner we retired early to find a bouquet of flowers for our honeymoon in our room. REI, Mountain Lodges of Peru, and Dalmiro have impressed with their attention to detail, knowledge, and friendliness of the staff.

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