An so it begins. A 4:45 wake up for 5:15 start. Our goal is a 4000 vertical foot climb in an estimated time 3.5 hours. I dont think we have any idea what we are in for, but that is the good stuff. Matt and Karen were a bit hesitant but optimistic despite the brave front. They were thinking we were all Olympic Athletes and were prepared to sprint up the trail. We sorted that out pretty quick.
Part of our group ready to get going (counter clockwise). Karen, Matt, Sara, Ken, Norma, Serge, Matt, Angie
As all climbs go its started off easy enough. The trail switchbacked up the canyon nice and easy. All the groups left at the same time so there were about 50 people on the trail. We reached the first marker at about 300 metres and Norma told us to go at our own pace. Just be carefull of locals coming down the trail with thier donkeys. Move to the inside of the trail and stop. Wait for them to pass before you start again because we dont want anyone to be Condor food. Good advise, thanks Norma.
The climb was fantastic. Stopping to enjoy the various views as well as guzzle water, eat cookies and catch our breathe is what makes these climbs worth the effort. The valley below expanded with each stop and the view became more spectacular. Yuppers there were Donkeys and well as some lame as pack horses going both up and down the track. Step aside young man, animals coming through!! Somewhere in the distance I know there were a few Condors just watching and hoping!
..but the day was not over. Who ever put this tour together knew what they were doing. As it was now about 9:30 we had the day ahead of us. Thirty minutes down the road were the local hot springs. Now how perfect was that. Seriously, I have hiked up some crazy volcanos/mountains but my legs were shattered ands screaming YES when asked if they wanted to his some 40 degree celcius pools. An hour in the pools then it was off for lunch. Never have I been so happy to be dropped off at a tourist buffet in my life. Pasta, Alpaca meatballs and chops, lots of fresh veggies, soups, salads, fruit and desserts. I hit that bad boy hard.