Another brief "planned movements" post. Tonight I'm leaving Arequipa for Cuzco, where tomorrow morning I'll meet up with Hugo and Gelmond. The three of us plan to do the Salkantay trek, which is a moderately challenging walk through the back country of Cuzco, taking four days and ascending to 4,600 metres.
Salkantay is often presented as an alternative route to Machu Picchu for those who can't or don't want to do the traditional Inca Trail. The trail emerges from the bush not too far from Santa Teresa and Hugo's Lodge, but not close enough for Hugo's liking. The idea is therefore that we will try to find a "new route" that terminates close to Santa Teresa; Hugo will then convince agencies in Cuzco to programme this route and bring trekkers to his lodge for their third night.
We'll be by ourselves, without cooks or mules, and carrying all our own gear, although the first couple of days we will undoubtedly be following in the footsteps of other tour groups. I'm a bit nervous about the "exploring" bit, given that both Hugo and Gelmond tend to be a bit light on details (e.g food, travel time, etc) and make up for it by stoicly suffering the consequences. I'm a bit more of a wimp, so prefer to be better prepared.
This is going to be my trekking/climbing expedition of the trip. My ambition to climb a high mountain like Ampato is not going to be fulfilled. Time and logistics had pretty much ruled it out anyway, but the mild stomach upset I alluded to in the last post put the final nail in the coffin. I probably lost a couple of kilos over a couple of days, and if I wasn't quite in shape to make it to 6,400 metres previously, I was even less ready after getting sick. But with the element of exploration, this trek is in its own way just as adventurous.
Assuming that it all goes well, I should make it back to Cuzco by the 9th, and Arequipa by the 10th. A couple more errands to run in Arequipa -- among other things, I have to pick up my Universidad Nacional de San Agustin library card -- and then it will be to Lima to take my flight home after what seems like a ridiculously short time here.
It goes without saying that there are unlikely to be any posts for about five days, but I hope to at least have some interesting photos when I next post.