June 17, 2006

Day 8: Keska/Q’ente

Students followed the Cusichaca Valley through Huayllabamba, a village of corn farmers, to Q’ente which overlooks the Urubamba River. This area is dotted with Inca sites such as Cusichaca, Q’entemarca, Machu Q’ente and Wayna Q’ente. Students left the snow-capped peaks behind and entered the lusher, tropical surroundings, camping at the edge of the Urubamba River.

Live field report

Day 8 // June 17, 2006 // Charlotte Dawson

After several days of intense hiking it was definitely a treat to sleep in until 7:30 am today. With no frost on the ground we were all able to wake up feeling warm and well rested. Alysha and I certainly had a hard time making ourselves leave the warmth of our tent this morning, but we were rewarded with delicious pancakes and honey for breakfast.

We all chose our own partners to hike with this morning and left camp with a sense of calm, knowing that yesterday we had reached the highest point of our hike. Although we all thought that going downhill would be much easier, it was anything but that. Cole and I hiked together today and were able to stay near the front of the group. It was actually hard to have such a good day, knowing that some people weren’t having as easy of a time. Terry’s knee was still bothering him throughout the day, but everyone was there to support him throughout the hike. We hiked down a narrow path until we reached an Incan ruin called Paurcarchancha. This marked the spot where the trail that we had been following, joined with the more heavily traveled regular Inca Trail. The terrain on this new trail was an obvious switch from what we have been hiking on for the past several days. The ground was much more level and we began to pass by more houses and people. This was a definite switch because on the Super Inca Trail we never saw any people except for those in our group or our guides.

With a lot of gravel covering the dusty trail, we arrived at lunch about an hour behind schedule at 2:15 pm. We each enjoyed a plate full of rice, tuna, onions, and fried potatoes. We left the lunch site at about 2:45 pm. At lunch Julio announced that we would all have access to hot showers tonight so we began to move at a quicker pace than usual. As we continued down the trail the climate became more tropical than we have seen in days. There were eucalyptus trees surrounding us and a river running towards our left. In front of us we could see Mount Veronica, a huge snow capped mountain with clouds hovering below the peak. We finally arrived at the Hacienda where we are staying tonight at 5:15 pm. Every body immediately headed to their tents to grab things for showers. Taking showers was such a treat because the water actually remained hot throughout the entire shower.

After showers we all headed to dinner and had sausages, beef, and potatoes. Now everyone is listening to Andrew guess the color of the playing cards that they hold up. So far he hasn’t gotten a single one wrong. I’m so glad that we’ve all become so close within these past few days and I can’t wait to go through the Sun Gate to Macchu Picchu tomorrow.

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Hey big guy, Reid told us about your excellent adventure. Please know that we are with you in love and support each step of the way. Breathe deeply that love that is the breath of life and share it with all of those special people you are climbing with. We are proud of your willingness to share and learn!

love you, Jill and Paul

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