Driving to the starting point had us maneuver up an undulating road under repair. The drop off was significant however, the driver was gentle to ensure nerves were calm. Not too sure if the padded roll bars would have made any difference tumbling down a mountain side, should we have gone over!
As we unloaded the mini-coach, the horse troupe, horsemen and a couple of cooks approached. On the Quarry Trail trek, we only carry a daypack. All the other equipment was carried by man’s best friend. A couple of foals accompanying to get their education and training for when they become of age.
As they were getting loaded up, we started our walking, upwards. We learnt when we climbed Kilimanjaru that when ascending at altitude, you need to take smaller steps than usual versus what one is used to taking at sea level. They called it ‘pole pole’ (or pronounced ‘polee polee’). We weren’t concerned that we were at the back of the pack. Newbies would soon learn to adjust or, exhaustion tiredness and catching the breath would eventually present itself. It didn’t take long.
A farmer was preparing his field using oxen towing a wooden plough. There is no machinery at this height. Ironically, two school children overtook us going to school. Now their voices were amongst the ones heard in session repeating what was being taught aloud as we arrived at the school to take a break.
It wasn’t long after we started again that the horse train also overtook us. With all that they were carrying, they made it look so easy. The odd call from the horsemen keeping their momentum going forward.
Ruins higher up came into focus as we neared. Before that though, we got to feel the spray of Pilcobamba – a water fall that cascaded out of a crevasse of rock. A little further up, an earth viewing platform allowed us to sit on it’s edge and ponder at what had been trekked. Another couple of farmers and Ox we passed were now in a field way below making plough lines. Jeez, they just get on with life without fuss or complaint here.
We reached the Q’orimarca ruins at 3,600 metres and spent some time here to hear about it’s history. We welcomed time off the soles of the boots to rest the bodies. The newbies to this type of trekking were doing extremely well – they had left their comfort zones way back at the mini-coach. And now the farmers looked even tinier dots.
I started to get a headache. Arriving at our campsite, I popped half a diamox tablet which is for altitude sickness prevention (and cure). It abated. The horsemen had set up camp with a separate dining and kitchen tent and our tents, where it was our first night to be experienced under canvas.
We made the most of the remaining sun, exposing skin to the sun’s rays. But as it disappeared behind the mountain top, layers of clothing were applied in preparation for the drop in the thermometer mercury. We ate an amazing three course dinner before heading to the sleeping bags and shut eye.
When taking diamox, you have to increase the water intake by double. Getting up every two hours to pee is what you do. It was a clear night and I got to see the moon cross the night sky.
One of the ladies from the States further along the tent line, also had to get up during the night to relieve herself. Except she squatted immediately outside her tent entrance versus a metre to the front or side. Can you imagine the ruckus from her fellow American tent buddy having to also get up and pee, only to stand bare feet in the map of Michagan pee stain on the ground getting out of and into their tent!
But not finding out she had done so until the next morning!
Hahahahahah, the lessons we take when we step outside our comfort zone. Or tent!