Camino Kuchucanch [August 22, 2011 – Sunday]

First off, Happy Birthday Dad!  It was a bit surreal being unable to call or contact in any capacity, but I was sending my positive vibes 🙂

Sñr Crispin and his wife made us breakfast (delicious), we packed up our things, and waited outside on the street for Victor to meet up with us.  Looking back at it now, not having cell phones for communication or immediate time constraints is surreal in comparison to the structure of my life now; we ended up waiting for over an hour (maybe two… who knows?) on the street for him, but it wasn’t stressful or impatient.  I mean if that happened tomorrow, I’d probably be worrying about how this delay would cost the rest of my day schedule… and then text/call said person I am meeting and ask them just how exactly far away they were.

Breakfast at Hostal Tinqui -- Photo by Sang C.

Our horses... one of them is named Gandalf.

Met up with Victor and our two horses at around 10AM, and then loaded the horses up (I’m really oh so very thankful for them and the things they carried for us!).  The hike up was beautiful, albeit steep and a bit taxing on us because of the altitude.  At this point we were still trying to find our pace and get use to exertion at higher altitudes — it seemed like everything cut your breath O2 intake in half and your heart beat 10 times faster.  There were a couple of long, steep hills, which made traveling much slower, but there were also some luxuriouslyyyy level areas.

We have Ausangate on our left, and Cayangate on our right. Beautiful, no?-- Photo by Sang C.

Photo by Sang C.

Little short flowers that were quite common, and probably grew so close to the ground to protect itself from the harsh winds. Biologists hiking together like to speculate the morphological reasoning behind flora/fauna.

Ah, I suppose the “road” we were on had a name!

Feels great to be in the Land of Alpacas... I really love this guy for some reason.

Marshall makes friends with some schoolchildren.

Apexed the last "big" hill to Victor's house and looking back out the path we took.

It took us 2 hours to get to Victor’s house and we were promptly greeted by his dogs barking ferociously and jumping between Victor’s barbed wire fence to get at us (I like to think they were just really excited to see us).  We set up our tents, ate a surprisingly spectacular, yet simple lunch of “mountain” cheese, avocado, and bread.  Then we promptly fell asleep for an hour.

Little gallinas roaming the yard, muy precioso!

Boy's tent and our tent further in the background -- Photo by Sang C.

Tim and the other ladies' tent -- Photo by Sang C.

The view from our tent with Victor's greenhouse in the distance

Megan and I napping -- Photo by Sang C.

The gallinas taking a nap with Stephanie and Mekdes. -- Photo by Sang C.

Victor's greenhouse. He's grows all sorts of vegetables and fruit (like strawberries) in here -- Photo by Sang C.

When we woke up, we chatted a bit with Victor and his friend Hacinto (both of whom would be our “guide” of sorts in the next few days) about agriculture, the mountains/mountain gods, and Quechua culture.  We helped Victor, Paulina (his wife), and Peter (his 10-yr old son) prepare some vegetable soup (onions, green beans, potatoes, quinoa, carrots, and some sort of seasoning — little did we know at this point that this is all we would have for the next week or so).  Though, I don’t know how much of a help we were, as Paulina later secretly rechopped the vegetables that we cut.

Pow-wow with Victor and Hacinto. I totally regret not having a blanket to sit on, as the grass was actually very sharp/pokey -- Photo by Sang C.

As the sun started to set, it got increasingly cold, but we decided to brave it out for our first sunset on Ausangate.

The sun setting on Ausangate.

The side of Victor's house (and Peter's bike).

Their one-room house was cozy from the cold (being made of wind-proof adobe).  We ate dinner on one of their beds, which was hollow underneath with little doorways for their guinea pigs to live and run out to grab kitchen scraps (guinea pigs = food, not pets… though they were really adorable and made purring noises/baby squeaks every once in a while).  Tomorrow we visit Victor’s alpaca farm!

The whole gang in Victor's house for dinner. -- Photo by Sang C.

View of the Southern Hemisphere's star and the Milky Way. One of my favorite star pictures Sang took -- Photo by Sang C.

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  • "To those who stay put, the world is but an imaginary place. But to the movers, the makers, the shakers, the world is all around them, an endless invitation."
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