Location: Lares

July 26th, Nadine Anderson

The night before we left for our four-day hiking trip, I was nervous, excited and unsure of what was to come. There would be eight of us going on the trek the next morning – Shaan, Feris, Ryo, Javier, Austin, Caroline, Mimi, and I. We all woke up at around 6:15 that morning with our bags packed, and were scheduled to be on our way by 7:00 or so. We left for a drive that would last about 3 hours. After long naps and windy roads, we arrived at a hot spring site. We all got into our swimsuits and started testing the temperature of each hot spring. Most were hot, if not warm, but there was one, in particular, that was cold. We ended up spending about 5 minutes in the coldest, then going to the hottest, then back to the coldest, then the hottest, then coldest, etc. After a fun time swimming, our camping staff served us a delicious meal. After swimming and lunch, we began hiking. Our guide, William, told us in advance that this would be the easiest day.

At the beginning of the trek, the terrain was mostly trees and grass. We had beautiful views of the mountains, as we continued, and there was a change to rock/dirt pathways and roads. In total, we hiked for about 4 hours. We all talked about the following days to come and enjoyed being surrounded by only nature. I was very happy to be away from technology, cars, and crowds of people. When the hike had finished, we arrived at camp, located in a schoolyard. We arrived with the surprise of our tents already set up. After about a half an hour of getting settled in, we enjoyed some tea with crackers and cookies. After tea, we all spent some time on the school’s playground/swing set, admiring the view. About an hour went by, and we all went back into the main tent and had dinner. We were cooked vegetable soup to start, then trout with potato, pepper, broccoli, beans, and carrots. After the meal, we decided the camping should be referred to as “glamping” (glamorous camping).

After dinner, we received the pleasant surprise of a sky full of stars. Shaan immediately pulled out his camera and took some amazing pictures of the sky. After some time, we all grabbed our blankets and lied down in the grass. There were much fewer stars in Cusco and Ollantaytambo than this, so we were all very excited about how many we could see from our campsite. Although we were all freezing and shivering, we appreciated the sky very much. I saw about four or five shooting stars that night, almost as many as I’ve seen in total. The first day of the trek was beautiful and very fun, I’m sure everyone can agree. I went to bed exhausted from a tiring day but excited for the next.