Hikes and Treks (part 2)

Salineras

Like I mentioned before, the Incas loved to terrace things, and nowhere is this more impressive than at Salineras, the salt pans. Here, they built hundreds of shallow pools high up in the mountainside to mine the salt from mineral-rich water thaf flows from within the mountain. Since it’s the rainy season right now, the pools are filled with water, but come the dry season, the water will evaporate, rendering the entire mountainside a blazing white.

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we arrive at the salt pans….

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that seem to go on forever

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salt crystals on the sides of each pool

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Amanda: this is your heaven. (in case anyone was wondering, yes I tasted the salt, and yes it was delicious.)

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John high on crack rock… aka coca leaves and llibta (a mineral which you add to coca to activate the compounds in the leaf). The coca leaves are supposed to oxygenate your blood and make the climb easier, but all this succeeding in doing for me was making my tongue go numb.

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our pickup truck ride home! we couldn’t flag down a combi, so we had to hitch a ride in the back of some lady’s pickup. not too shabby of a way to see the sacred valley!

Victor shows us stuff

Some mornings at breakfast I would ask Deni where Victor is, and she would tell me he’s at the chakra (the cornfield), wathcing the choclo (corn). I would just nod and smile, because I’m not quite sure of the purposes of these visits but I don’t want to seem like an idiot. Is he checking to see if the corn is ready, or just keeping an eye out for corn-thieves? I got to find out for myself one Sunday when Victor took me, Nicki, John, and Rosie on a walk out of town to see the chakra and show us some Inca lookouts high up in the mountain, where they would signal each other if danger (aka Spaniards) was imminent. After we had a look at the field and everything seemd to be to Victor’s satisfaction, he showed us how to strip the cornstalks to get the the canya – the cane – where you can bite off a piece and suck out the juice.

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Victor explains things to us. I just nod and look intrigued and wait for Nicki to translate.

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Victor shows us how to peel the stalks with our teeth

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On our walk back into town, we spot this little one trudging through the sequia. No clue what he’s doing.

Pumamarca

Pumamarca is an Inca site high up in the Patacancha river valley that is supposedly where the Incas retreated after the Spaniards took Ollanta, and the coolest part about it is that it’s in the shape of a puma. (I think I belong there!) The hike is long and strenuous but completely breathtaking, with gorgeous views of terraced fields and the valley below. Unfortunately for us the rains washed out part of our trail and forced us to make some questionable decisions regarding the crossing of certain streams.

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a puppy we found on our way up!

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Joey cuddles with our puppy friend….

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while his (or her) brother watches adoringly from the other side of a rock wall.

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stream crossing #1…

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stream crossing #2….

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our trail which has become a mini-river on our way to….

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stream crossing #3

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walking along an ancient aqueduct

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our first view of the ruins!

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first view inside the complex

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view of the valley below

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rosie contemplating life…

room of flowers

the room where yellow flowers live!

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rosie on top of the world!

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