Despite the woolen layers, gloves, hats, sleeping bags, etc. we froze our asses off and were relieved to peek out of the tent and observe the lightening sky on the second morning of our trek.
After a warm breakfast of pancakes and hot coffee we were ready for Day 2 and the Salkantay Pass. We got an early and cold start for the toughest day of the trek.
We cross some quickly moving water close to camp and head up the trail.
The clouds were lifting and the warmth of the sun felt so good after a very cold night in the tents.
The scenery was stunning and we felt lost in the Andean mountains. It was a good feeling.
The climb begins in earnest as we steadily hike up the path.
We warm up quickly and shed a layer.
The path gets steeper…
Jeremy calls for a light lunch at about 10:30 to give us energy for our summit.
Royar and Evan actually make popcorn and set out a spread of crackers, butter, jam and coffee. Ashley combines it all onto a cracker (except for the coffee that is).
A nap after our snack.
We continue towards the summit.
Ashley and I made it to the pass first…
…and then she needed to get a little higher.
We watched the boys approach.
Salkantay Pass 15,190 feet
It’s cold at the top.
The clouds pass over the 20,574 foot peak offering a glimpse now and then. People do climb to the top of the mountain but it is a very technical climb. According to the information that I was able to find, the first ascent was in 1952 and there have been approximately 21 successful summits since then.
We felt great and the view was amazing.
The clouds clear for a few minutes.
Now for the hard part (hard on the knees anyway), all the way down.
Alfredo and Pan Duro, our constant companions rest and Pan Duro takes a snack break while they wait for us.
The Peruvian Chinchillas kept us entertained as we made our way down the rocky trail.
Above the valley that we spent a few hours hiking into towards our next camp.
We made great time according to Jeremy and so we skipped the first campsite and continued on to a “warmer” site, lower in elevation, to spend the second night. Our chosen site for the second night was somebody’s yard. It was an interesting setup. There were a couple of traditional looking homes and then there was a new and modern looking house with a generator that ran until very late. There was also a very friendly cat.
Our bathroom facility this time was an outhouse with a toilet in the horse pasture. There was a round cutout window that framed the mountains in the distance. We rested in our tents and waited for dinner. Ashley trotted off to use the restroom. I laid on my sleeping bag and read while Scott harangued me about taking a “spit bath.” No, thanks. I would revel in my sweat for another night. Ashley was gone a long time and I was a little concerned, but then I am always a little concerned, so I was ignoring myself. In the middle of ignoring myself, I hear something. I ignore it but then I hear it again…it is my daughter and she’s calling for help. I practically transport out of the tent by osmosis and take off running towards the outhouse barefoot. Scott is all of the sudden in front of me. Ashley is fine though, just stuck inside the outhouse.
At least she had a great view!
We enjoy another delicious meal prepared by Royar and Evan.
This little fellow waited patiently and meekly outside the tent. We could not resist his sweet eyes and fed him scraps.
This day was our favorite of the trek. Salkantay Pass was wildly beautiful, remote and a memorable accomplishment to summit together as a family.