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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Mountain Lodges of Peru: Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge - Page 4

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Mountain Lodges of Peru’s Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge trek is a high-end hiking experience unique in Peru that distinguishes itself from other companies in many ways. First and foremost are its gorgeous lodges with impressive architecture and stunning views. Until 2007, trekking in the Machu Picchu area involved camping out through freezing nights at high altitudes – most people hiking the Inca trail in the high season got so cold at night that by 2-3 am they’d be up and ready to start the next days hike. It makes an immeasurable difference to have a warm room, a hot shower, a comfortable bed and hygienically-prepared three course meals.

 

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu PicchuWhen we arrived at Colpa we watched the staff prepare a traditional Peruvian feast for a late lunch. A fire was heating a beehive shaped shell of thick stones, and once it became extremely hot they threw lots of potatoes on the bottom, then cracked the stones open and placed whole chickens, guinea pigs, and sides of pork and lamb on the stones with more stones placed right on top. The meat was covered with ears of corn and fava beans before the whole arrangement was sealed with cardboard and plastic sheets, and dirt was shoveled on top with some clumps of grass to hold it all together. It was left for an hour or so and then carefully undone with all the food put into buckets and brought in for our midday meal. Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu PicchuThe potatoes were tender and filled with juices from the meats that dripped into them. This type of feast is typical in Peru on important occasions.

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

It was a sunny day and the lounge chairs out front with views of the mountains and village were full all day. Some caught up on sleep and others tried the hot tub, and still others partook of the bar while lounging in the sun. Colpa was another beautiful lodge with walls of glass to capture the views.

Day 5

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu PicchuWe rose at 6:00 for another 8 hour day of hiking. The trek was varied: up, down and flat, hugging cliffs and crossing waterfalls. The hiking became easier as we moved to progressively lower altitudes, making it much easier to breathe. We had the view of a rushing river filled with rapids for the entire day.Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

 

 

 

 

 

We saw an increasing diversity of species in plants, flowers, birds and insects, including absolutely stunning iridescent butterflies, whose wings appeared almost translucent when still, but when they flew their wings reflected the sun and turned pearled shades of purple and yellow. We passed huge stalks of corn growing high on steep hillsides and wondered how it could possibly be harvested. Our cooking crew set up a nice lunch for us at a prime lookout along the way, complete with a cake the chef baked using a large covered skillet.Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu PicchuAfter a few more waterfall crossings on narrow bridges, we came to the outskirts of a town and the end of this part of the trail. We said goodbye to our ever-present, ever-gracious horseman, Don Mercindo, and to all the other horses and horsemen. Our bags were loaded in vans and we were shuttled about ½ hour away to another trail that led to our final Mountain Lodges of Peru lodge. Lucma Lodge was only about ½ hour walk up which was good since we'd been going all day. Porters carried our bags up. We were lower in the cloud forest now, almost down to the rain forest, surrounded by coffee and banana plantations. This lodge had a similar architectural style to the rest and was also very peaceful.Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu PicchuAfter too short a stay at the last lovely lodge, we ascended past hundreds of orchids and through the forest to the pass near where we would look for Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, it was raining when we got to the lookout and we didn't see the memorable view of Machu Picchu from above. We did see the small Incan ruins that resembled an outpost or a checkpoint at the edge of the forest. At a lower viewpoint we saw a fleeting glimpse of Machu Picchu as the clouds passed momentarily. After that it was hiking straight down for the rest of the day, descending to the valley where the train runs.Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

 

 

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Machu Picchu Lodge to Lodge, Salkantay trail, travel Peru, trekking Cusco, travel Machu Picchu, trekking Machu Picchu

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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