Day 9 in Peru — Everyone Loves a Comeback Story

View from our campsite.

View from our campsite.

There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback – seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance. — Rachel Griffiths, Australian Actress

My eyes awaken at 6 am.  I can’t believe I slept uninterrupted.  I can tell my limbs have enjoyed the evening’s rest as they feel energized and ready for a full day’s hike.  I inhaled and exhaled without any trouble.  Awesome!  My appetite is slowly coming back, but I’m not complaining.  At least I want to eat some food.  Best of all my humour is back in full force.  Laughing and joking with my new friends is something I missed yesterday, so reconnecting with them was definitely on my morning checklist.  Muscles working?  Check.  Oxygen intake uninterrupted?  Check.  Full stomach?  Check.  Feelings of optimism?  Check, along with a HUMONGOUS can of WHUP ASS.  Looks like all systems are go!  Time to be fearless!

Lots of uphill climbs on this trek!

Lots of nice views on this trek!

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Overlooking the Pacamayo Valley!

This time I was able to keep up with the front runners of the group — The Germans.  I swear Germans are superhuman.  They are strong hikers, courageous daredevils, awesome friends and they can drink!  My kind of people 🙂  After about an hour our first stop was the ruins of Runkuraqay.  Hiking up those steps to join my friends on the ruin was a thrill I will never forget.  I even did a corny “Rocky” pose!  And of course, the views:

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A pond in the mountain.

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I’m about 80% recovered but I had no stomach pains!

After another 45 minute climb we begin the steep descent.  And I mean STEEP.  You have to be careful walking down these steps because one misstep and you’ll officially be a sacrifice to Machu Picchu!  The path descends into a magnificent cloudforest full of orchids, hanging mosses, tree ferns and flowers, and a tunnel carved into the rock.

The mist and the mountains = happiness :)

The mist and the mountains = happiness 🙂

Beautiful and dangerous.

Beautiful and dangerous.

A tunnel in the mountain.

A tunnel in the mountain.

After about a total of three hours of hiking we had the option of climbing a steep stone staircase to the Sayaqmarka ruins, or continue along the descent.  Of course I’m climbing up to the ruin!  So I drop my backpack by our guide and start the climb.  If this were yesterday I wouldn’t have had the energy to explore.  But that’s one of the many joys in life . . . to be better than we were yesterday 🙂

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At a Huaca (sacred site).

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A llama on a mountain.

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The beginnings of the Amazon River.

We learned that Incas sought out guidance from the gods through offerings and sacrifices.  Llamas, children and slaves were often sacrificed to the gods in exchange for blessings.  A ceremonial axe called a Tumi was used in the sacrifices.  This axe was made of either bronze, copper, wood, gold, or silver.

After descending from the Sayaqmarka ruins I felt fully invested in the journey.  The concept of time no longer existed to me. I just enjoyed being in the wilderness and embracing the wonders of Pachamama.  Her refreshing mist, welcoming curves along her dangerous torso, revitalizing smell of untouched lush greenery, and securing touch of rain cascading off her chin are the summation of senses that cannot be matched by the concrete jungle I’m used to.  Exploring out of my comfort zone is something I’ve grown to be comfortable with 🙂

After a couple more hours of hiking through the cloudforest, meeting new people, and appreciating my environment we reach the Phuyupatamarka ruins.  The name means “Town in the Clouds.”  The most impressive ruin thus far, this site features about a thousand steep steps to guide you towards the bottom while giving you a fantastic view of the world around you.

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The wonders of Pachamama 🙂

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Caution is extremely recommended when climbing down these steps!

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We made it unscathed!

After leaving the Phuyupatamarka ruins we finally make it to camp.  Although we all had an active last six hours together our positive spirits did well in masking any fatigue we may have felt.  One last dinner and night on the mountain before we hit Machu Picchu!

MOMENT OF ZEN:  The name of our camp was Winaywayna, which means “forever young.”  So apropos for our team.  I will miss their spirt, vigour, and positive energy.  Our porters had one last surprise for us . . . music and dancing!  I’ve said this in a previous blog post however I think it fits here . . . Music dispels racial stereotypes, religious differences, language barriers, gender biases, and political preferences.  Peace happens when people move to the same beat.  And in the pic below we are definitely united 🙂

Dancing on a mountain is a joy only a few have experienced!  I'm glad to be one of them :)

Dancing on a mountain is a joy only a few have experienced! I’m glad to be one of them 🙂

So I encourage you to find harmony amongst the noise that prevents you from finding cooperation and peace.  Sometimes instruments may need to be exchanged in your orchestra, but eventually your symphony will come together, and others will dance to your beat 🙂

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Winaywayna means “forever young.” 🙂  My famous hero pose!

Peace, love, and adventure!

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