Lares Trek

Trip Start Sep 10, 2008
Trip End May 24, 2009

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Minus temperatures, tents, outside loos, woken up by the chef with Coco Tea at 5.15am, then a bowl of hot water to wash with each morning, beautiful scenery, high mountain climbs and plenty of fresh air. Only saw 3 other travellers/hikers in the 4 days, but plenty of local animals and mountains and glaciers and local people were were a bit shy!

We walked through high mountain peaks and sub-tropical valleys, saw scenic lagoons, natural hot springs, and Inca remains. The remoteness of the area has allowed the local people to preserve traditions of llama and alpaca herding, potato cultivation, and colorful weaving dating back to the Incas. This treks offered a first-hand look at the life of the Andean farmer and a journey into a region of outstanding beauty.

Cusco to Cancha Cancha - We left Cusco early morning to Huaran (2900m.) Our hike began here in the fertile valley following a small river up through the mountain corridor. After walking roughly 4 hours, we begin to see the glacial peaks of Cancha Cancha Casa (4984m.) and Chicon (5530m.)

Cancha Cancha to Quisuarani - Shortly after beginning our trek in the morning, we arrived at two brilliant glacial lakes, Suirococha and Yuraccocha. From the lakes, the trail climbs steeply for about 2 hours to the first pass, named Pachacutec (4700m.). Nearing the top, we enjoy a spectacular view of the snow-covered peaks of Pitusiray (5750m.) and Chicon (5530m.). An original Inca stone path lead us along the ridge down into the opposite corridor. We followed a series of cascading waterfalls to the village of Quisuarani, where we camped for the night.

Quisuarani to Cuncani then onto Lares Hot Springs - we begin our hike upward through the high puna to the Huillquicasa pass (4400m). From this high mountain perch, one can behold the extensive Vilcanota range and the pastoral farmland and lagoons below. The well-marked trail forms zig-zags down to the greener pastures, where llamas, alpacas, and sheep graze alongside flocks of Andean water birds. The rare Peruvian Viscacha, a medium-sized rodent related to the Chinchilla, can be seen bounding in and out of the rocky mountain crags. Continuing down even further, we reach the picturesque village of Cuncani (3700m.) for lunch. We saw in the nearby horizon the mammoth white face of Mount Colque Cruz (5818m.) The trail follows the spouting river down through the valley for approximately 3 hours as the vegetation becomes greener and thicker and large rock formations divert the winding path. Entering a more sub-tropical climate, small farms and adobe houses signal our arrival to the village of Trapiche and finally the hot medicinal baths of Lares (3100m.) A relaxing soak in these thermal pools was an excellent way for my tired legs after such a challenging and exhilarating trip.

Woken to another morning of glorious scenery and a lift through the valley to another ong trek through villages in the mountains, wild horses, alpacas, llamas, children playing and waterfalls.

Time for a nice hot shower and to wash my hair after 4 days!

Lots of love Tracey xxx
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