The Chasqui Blog
In this week's blog, Inca Runners' Roberto Carcelen shares his experiences during a section of a trip done with Olympian Cross-Country Medalist Martin Koukal last July. This section is between the small town of Cachora and the Choqueqirao ruins.
“The town of Cachora hasn’t changed much: same feeling, same spirit and same massive mountain chain of sharp snowy peaks.
Once again, I met with my friend Mauro to arrange the hauling of our gear and equipment for the next few days across the Andes. After an initial catch up with Mauro and family, we headed up to the Plaza, a great location to lookout the incredible snow peaks in front of us. Martin shakes his head and said: these mountains are incredible! Ben agreed and keeps taking pictures.
Town of Cachora
Mauro’s wife Barcelona is an excellent cook, she prepared dinner the night before our departure to Choquequirao, a fresh slaughtered fried chicken, some local potatoes and veggies.
We learned from Mauro that all vegetables in the area are grown organically, with the use of no pesticides and clean water from the mountains, this is great for the Cachora’s population and also for us, since, we have just started offering organic ingredients for our meals on the trail.
We started the hike to Cachora the morning after our arrival to Cachora. Martin and I Ieft Mauro’s home around 8.30 am. Mauro came along only for couple of kilometers, to wish us a great trip. Ben took off earlier hoping to catch great shots of the rest of us making our way up. With the mountain chain in from of us, the way out of Cachora is just breathtaking!
Mauro, his kids, and Martin
Almost two and half hours later and 6,000 feet down, we arrived to La Playa, right at the bottom of the canyon before crossing the Apurimac River. One of the thing that amazes me the most is how quick you change climates and environments in the Andes: 2.5 hours back we were in the land of the condor, llama and snow peaks, now we were in the middle of banana, mango and avocado trees, wild parrots plus weather was 30 degrees warmer than Cachora’s and of course, we had lots of mosquitoes!
Mango, banana and avocado trees at our rest stop!
Keeping our way to the ruins of Choquequirao, and after crossing a bridge we experienced and change in weather..again!..this time is was from warmer to cooler temperatures, as we made our way up to the highlands. Ben and the rest of the group were way behind us, on the other side of the canyon.
The climb is steep through a bunch of switchbacks; I counted 33 of them (at least) up to Marampata, (after Marampata the 1 mile left to Choquequirao is mostly flat) thankfully, our La Sportiva Raptor’s allowed us to tackle those inclines with no problem!
After 40 minutes of uphill run and hike, we arrived to Santa Rosa, which is a tiny little stop, managed by a local family of farmers who offers some food, water and warm Coca Cola! When we arrived, there was only one person besides our group, Rocio, adventurous girl from Lima, traveling solo to Choquequirao, she stopped in Santa Rosa to enjoy a beer and the view!
Martin and took a quick 10-minute break to refuel, have a coke, gels and get back on the trail again for the last stretch of 18 switchbacks to our campsite , yaay switchbacks!!!
90 minutes later, we reached Marampata where our campsite was waiting for us, which is really close to the Choquequirao ruins! We were done for the day!..so now it was time to chill, get the solar panels out and charge our photo cameras, gps and talk about the Olympics, training stuff, it was a good time to catch up!
Resting and waiting for our crew to arrive
An hour later, we sat down to have dinner and enjoy a nice glass of wine while sharing and watching pictures and videos taken early during the day, our new friend Rocio joined us for dinner. We were all super excited because next morning we were going to spend a full day at the Choquequirao ruins!
We woke up early in the morning and walked to the ruins, where we spent most of our day, Martin decided to explore every single corner and stone of Choquequirao. By when he got back to the camp site in the afternoon , he logged 2600 meters (8530 feet) gained from going up and down at the ruin site.
It is been 11 years since the first time I visited Choquequirao and the only difference between now and then is that more areas have been cleared up of vegetation, uncovering new sectors of the ruins. The Choquequirao ruins are the most amazing Inca’s construction I ever seen!..and it’s only been visited by few people! Hope you can join us someday. Until next time!
Choquequirao - A true gem!
From Left: Ben, Martin and Roberto rocking Inca Runners' t-shirts with the logos of our sponsors. Thanks to La Sportiva, Toko and Rudy Project!
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