Salkantay Trek - Day 1 - The Walk To The Base Of Salkantay
After the tour guide not turning up the previous day we were abit sceptical about even getting picked up in the morning, however we woke at 4 to get picked up at half 4. It got to 5 before a guide turned up to pick up the Israeli´s in our room. We bumruched him and asked if he was supposed to be picking us up to which he said... Oh yea... Good one. We drove for 3 hours in a van to Mollepata were I slept the majority of the way. Once there we got some breakfast and introduced ourselves. There were 11 of us all together, we had names for all of them, not original I admit but we couldnt remember their real names. There were two french couples, one headed by Silver Fox and one headed by Rodney/Plonker/Postman Pat, one french lady we named... Frenchy, the 3 Israeli´s which actually turned out to be Argentinian we named ´The Bargies´ and one lone Brazillian who we thought was Argentinian the majority of the trek so named... ´Singleton Bargy´. We set off at about 9 along a dusty winding road. After about an hour we started to take shortcuts up the hill and cutting out the winds. This was pretty hard but you got a nice rest along the road once you were up. It was quite apparent from the start that despite everyone else being more equipped than us we were alot faster walkers than them and it didnt take long before the guide told us were lunch was and we sped off in front. When we got to the lunch spot the views opened up. There were huge valleys and our goal become visable, Salkantay Mountain, just in the distance the snowy top could be made out. As we were so far ahead we got talking to another guide who knew Edwin our guide. He told us his nickname was ´Papas´ which means potatoe in spanish due to his round body shape. Finally everyone caught up to the lunch spot. Team Plonker were miles behind which was to be the case for the rest of the trip. The lunch was pretty tastless but adequate, hot gooey soup and rice with minimum beef in it. After lunch we headed off again in front knowing the next check point was a shop, the views were nice but the trek was still along a road so not as hardcore as i´d thought. We got to the shop and Papas was already there? He´d snuck past in a bus and for that he got ripped. We were questioning to ourselves why a guide who walks 5 days a week is so overweight, this must have been why. We set off again after Papas had told us to ask for camp banetus. The rest of the walk would take us to the base of Salkantay Mountain a good three hours away. After about half hour a bus came past and Papas wasnt even hiding the fact he was cheating. We marched on to camp, by this time my blisters were killing. About half hour from the camp we saw Papas on a wall giggling smoking a joint. We carried on to the field were all the camp sites were, asking for camp banetus to no avail. Someone finally recognised us and asked us if we were in Papa´s group and told us we were with him but it was called camp banetus, aparently that means camp beautiful or something and was all a big joke on us. Finally Papa´s got to the camp, followed by both team bargies, team fox and obviously team pat very very last. The camp was freezing and i had all my gear on. we had some popcorn and snack followed by dinner at seven. The sky was amazing at night, I´ve never seen so many stars out but unfortunatly my camera wouldnt pick it up. I went to bed after that around half seven as the next morning was an early start. About an hour the food had past through me and I needed the toilet which was an out house about 100 meters away from camp. So cold and so windy, I really thought it was the worst toilet experience of my life, that was until my stomach gurgled and woke me up at 1am.... THAT was the worst toilet experience of my life. Luckily my stomach held out until the morning otherwise I think I would have just gone in my sleeping bag.