It was the same routine as the day before with the wake up call, pack up and breakfast. There was more dampness on the inside of the tent from condensation. It makes the getting clothed even more faster so as no moisture touches skin so as to send a silver down the spine. Nor make a whimpish noise!
We said our ‘gracias’ to the horsemen and cooks as we bid them farewell. Their roles had come to an end. As we started our way down, one of the newer younger horsemen was sent running down the hillside in the same direction, trying to round up and corral the said horses back to the camp base. They roam free after they do their job and one couldn’t but smile at how they were taking the mickey out of the runner by teasing him at going in all sorts of scattered directions! How he manages to do it is share skill, technique, expertise or the fact, that’s what he gets paid to do it. Poor bastard.
We have never seen horse meat on any menu neither!
The Quarry Trail is named for the quarry that was used to source the rocks to construct Ollayantambo Inca back in the 15th century. They were just clever people who used stone age tools to manufacture the block sizes they did, and then methodologies to haul the chunks down the mountainside, across the river and then position them into the structures of the ruins we are just spell bound by, today.
And those who perished on the quarry terrain were sent off into the after-life with respect as we deviated off the trail to enter a tomb and see skeletal remains. We acknowledge the sacred place by blowing three times on some cocoa leaves and placing them beside the bones. There was some spiritual being at peace with sharing in the ritual and made the trek very grounding.
Even if we had to get the altitude part out of the way first, we wouldn’t change the trekking route.
As the valley floor patchwork became larger, so too did the heat of the temperature increase. Insect repellent was added to sweat and trail grime to layer up protection from the beasties that like the blood vino. It worked. There was also more varieties of cacti too. We often stopped at old buildings abandoned to ponder it’s history. There was no rush.
Back in Ollantaytambo, we raised our glasses with a celebratory beer as we ate our boxed lunch, prepared by the cooks way back up the mountain. We also met up with Marty the Irish trekker who started out with our party and separated to do the true Inca Trail. A bout of food poisoning meant returning back to Ollantaytambo to wait out the condition. The Inca Trail would have to wait for another time and he had recovered enough to join us for the last part of the trek where it was meander down to catch our train to the last stop Aguas Calientes and, the base of Machu Picchu.
The hour and a half of clickety-click snaking alongside the Urubamba river wasn’t without fascination. The terraced landscape held us again in awe. How did they do it? Eucalyptus trees were introduced here from Australia during the 1900’s and have now taken to the parched lands like a weed. Except, they were welcomed shade spots during the trek up and down. Now they too shouldered the banks of the river.
Condensed and surrounded by sheer walls of vegetation cliffs, the town was alive with life. Half a soccer field being used for football; the other half with dances practicing to beating drums. The thud’s echoed. But not enough to drown out the buzz of the people.
And, it was just buzzing.