The Chasqui Blog
This is a two part story about Inca Runner's ambassador Roberto making his way out to Choquequirao ruins in less than 5 hours!
Running to Choquequirao is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever done, not only because of the scenery (that includes 360 degrees of snow-capped mountain views or 6 feet wingspan condors flying overhead) but the constantly changing terrain and high altitude makes this 19 miler literally breathtaking.
The run starts off from the small village of Cachora with a population a little less than 4,000 residents. One of these residents is our friend Mauro Salas who is the IR onsite gear and equipment hauling manager
Cesar, Mauro and Roberto loading up supplies
The run, from Cachora to Capulilloc Pass
After meeting with Mauro at 5:00 in the morning and having a cup of coffee together, we started loading up the horses (with some supplies like water, food, tents and other gear) and he was ready to hit the trail. The plan was to have Mauro and company leaving 3 hours before me, allowing them enough time to make their way down to the first refueling spot 12 miles away.
I remember the first time I met Mauro , a few years before, trying to explain that I was there to run to Choquequirao on the same day, he laughed and replied, “yeah right, no one can do that, no one can go faster than us porters do.” Later that day when I passed them 8 miles later he knew something different was happening. After that day and up until now I have been knows as the “Loco marathoner ”.
Cachora lies at 9,524ft and is 19 miles from Choquequirao.
The first mile of the run off Cachora is an easy downhill (yeah!), nothing too steep, a nice way to warm up and get those legs going. But then the trail starts climbing up for about a mile back to the same elevation I started from - a small taste of what’s ahead. Running out of town seems to take forever since you are contouring the covered hillsides of the valley, stock farms and corn fields.
I found it very funny that every time the locals saw me running by, they would start running too and try to race against me, as if they were thinking, “Hey, I can run too.” or maybe they were trying to tell me, “Our Chasqui ancestors ran these trails way before you dork!” From here (after 2 miles) the next 4 miles are just a false flat all the way to Capuliyoc Pass. This section is one of my favorites, not too flat and not too steep but good enough to let you cruise at 11,000ft for 4 miles and keep a descent level 2-3 heart rate. Another nice thing about these first 6 miles to Choquequirao from Cachora is that the entire way you can see from the distance how far off Capuliyoc pass is and how much progress you are making.
So, I reached Capuliyoc Pass 65 minutes later, right in time to squeeze a couple of gels in and witness a couple of condors flying easily and nice jet streaming between the canyon and the mountain range in front of me.
Trail to Capulilloc Pass
Amazing view from Capulilloc Pass
Part 2 of the Running Adventure:
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