Another day on Salkantay trail started. Little warmer than previous few days. Working bathroom on site was great. I was able to brush my teeth like a human being again. But all fun and joy has to end.
I found on the Maps.Me that there should be an outdoor pool near the village. That was something amazing, I did not have a shower for past three days and this looked like a gift from gods.
Pool was sitting at the edge of the river. There were some images on the internet that showed it filled with amazing clean water, with showers right next to it and the views around were also quite good.
It was real bummer when I got there. Pool was filled with stones and soil instead of clear water. I found out later, that there were strong floods one (or two) years ago and it got damaged. Instead of repairing it, they decided to fill it up with soil and close it down. Really sad moment.
But there was not time to despair. There were new adventures waiting ahead.
Following the river
Todays part was following river Santa Teresa most of the time. It did not mean it would be an easy walk. Trail was going up and down quite a lot. Even though it was early morning it was really hot and local insect was quite thirsty.
In some of the arctiles on the internet, people were writing about landslides along the way. Worst of them were destroying the trail and forcing hikers to retreat and walk on the road. Luckily it did not happen that day. There were some risky parts and even fresh landslide, but new trail was made in it already.
Again, views were amazing. Mountains on both sides, wild river and waterfalls nearby. Amazing green trees and shrubs and sound of insect. At one point there was a big cow poo near the trail and it was full of beautiful butterflies. They do that to suck up some amazing minerals.
At some places there were cables stretched over the river with small cable car attached to it. It usually led from the road to some remote farm or hut, probably delivering supplies. Part of me wanted to jump on it and ride from one side to the other.
There were some trees growing along the road with yellow, rounded fruit. All the fruit growing above the road (read: in the reach of human hands) was gone. I tried really hard to get some as I was curious what it could be, but my hands were not long enough.
Much later I arrived to a place where they were growing these trees on purpose. It was quite a big orchard, protected by a fence and there were some buildings nearby.
It was multipurpose area, part of it was camp, the other house for people who worked the orchard and it even had a small kiosk. They were selling that mysterious fruit there. Kiosk lady said that it is called Granadilla and that it is nice and sweet.
I bought two and some bananas. It was very cheap, 3 or 4 pesos for all of that. It was time to try the fruit. Once opened it was full of edible seeds. Easy to chew and really sweet, delicious stuff. We bought four more. In the end we figured out that it is fresh passion fruit. Not like the wrinkled and dry stuff you can buy in Europe.
There were some kittens and puppies running around. They were quite curious and friendly. I was little reluctant to pet them as our doc said to watch our for rabies, especially if animals are friendly. But they were too cute to resists and I played with them anyway. So far I am still alive.
Back in civilization
It was time to continue. Not much was happening on the way down, some random rain showers and butterflies eating shit. There was one place where road was splitting. Quick map check, which showed that there should not be two paths there, so it did not help much. Pretty much at the moment when we decided to go up, one girl was going down, smiling and telling us that this is not the right way.
Some time after that we have arrived to a village. It was quite a big place, but I am no longer sure what its name was. Google maps don’t show much, however on Maps.Me it is marked as either Playa or Sahuyaco.
I think it is a place where most of the Salkantay tours stop for a night in a camps. On top of that, there were some more big hotels being built at the time. It will probably be much more busy in near future.
Are you hungry?
We met one young lady, pretty much at the start of the village. She looked at us and asked us if we were hungry. Of course we were. So she told us about a restaurant and their menu, which included burgers. She even asked if 15 pesos per person is ok. When we agreed she pulled a phone and called someone. Then told us that we should continue and somewhere along the road someone will wait for us.
It was quite a walk and I thought that I missed the person with lunch. But as usual I was wrong. There was an older lady waiting near the road. Asked us if we wanted to eat and lead the way to her hotel / restaurant. We were the only guests there. Their menu was little limited compared to what was offered by the other lady earlier (especially no burgers at the moment). So we were no longer sure, if this is the right place.
We ordered what they had – lomo saltado and waited. Young lady who stopped us turned up little bit later. She actually brought meat for our lunch. So at least we knew it was the right place.
Going up again
Lunch break was over and it was time to continue. It was necessary to cross one bridge on the way. It looked like something that was holding together solely by thoughts and prayers. My doubts about local engineering skills were over when car got over it and bridge did not collapse.
There were some interesting buildings along the way. Built on a steep slope were three or four glass capsules. It was some kind of tourist accomodation. There were toilets in each capsule but there were not curtains or any other cover to hide behind. I guess private bathroom comes with a price.
It was pretty much the place where Salkantay trail stopped descending and started to go up again. Even though we were at more than 2.000 masl it was very hot. There were even some banana palms growing, little green but quite tasty (and free!).
Coffee plantations and camps everywhere
Few kilometers later we encountered first houses. One lady started calling at us from the balcony. She was offering us a place for a night, first in Spanish and then in English. We told her that we had to walk little bit more, to cut few more kilometers from tomorrows part. She was prepared for that situation too and told us that they owned another place and we will get little later.
We entered village called Lucma. There were some small plantations and campsites along the way. It was very long village, instead of steep road there were stairs going up.
Almost all the places were offering coffee, coffee tasting and plantations visits. If you love coffee this is kind of a paradise.
There were some locals offering campsites for a night. It was getting more and more difficult to resist their offers. In the end, we met one lady who was going down. She was quite persuasive. After five minutes I was not able to resist any more. She turned and lead the way to the camp.
It was a long way and the lady, even though she looked fifty years old, was going really fast. She had to wait for us from time to time.
There was one tent already built at the site. It belonged to the girl we met earlier that day. She was from France and her name was Juliet. She was heading to Machu Picchu as well (where else).
Rest of the evening was not very eventful. Put up a tent, have some inca granola for dinner and brush teeth. At least there was a sink with water. When it started raining again, it was time to get back to tent, play cards for a while and sleep. Last day on Salkantay trail was ahead of us and it will be really long one.