by Rikke Otte
The first was better than the second.
Day two of our trek started groggily and with a serious need for some coca tea. The high elevation wiped me out and tossing and turning all night never allowed my batteries to recharge. On the bright side I was served a pancake with the word ‘Venado,’ Spanish for deer written on it in caramel. Everyone got a different animal, quite the interesting conversation starter.
After that sweet desayunito we headed out while the equipaje team packed up camp. The hike on day two took us over another smaller pass and through the ancient grazing grounds of alpaca and llama herders. Rock enclosures obviously built by hand and weathered into place over decades made the mountainside look like one giant quadratic chess-board with four-legged friends moving around like bleeting pawns.
The climb peaked with an intense 20 minute push that separated the gang into 4/5 smaller grupitos. I made it over to be greeted by the youngsters cheering me on from a boulder overlooking a huge crystal clear alpine lake. Once again the hardest part of our day awarded us with a truly breathtaking view.
From those heights the hike turned dramatically downhill. We all pretended to carve snow as we zig-zagged slowly but surely, passing through climate zones and shedding layers along the way.After a quick lunch the path straightened out once more (check the video above for a minute of that walk) and we continued on to the natural hot springs of Lares town. Our two day adventure brought us to a wonderful close as we all played Marco PoLLo (re: Marco Chicken) in the mineral rich warm waters.
Photographed by Antonio Navarro Wijkmark