“In this life we are all just walking up the mountain, and we can sing as we climb, or we can complain about our sore feet. Whichever we choose we still have gotta do the hike. I decided a long time ago that singing made a lot more sense”.
– unknown (anyone know who said this?)
Day trips to rainbow mountain usually leave Cusco around 3am… doing it on your own without a guide meant we were slightly disorganised! Heading off with 5 boys and myself, We didn’t get out of Cusco until around 9.30am/10am… we were in for an interesting day with one of the boys feeling particularly under the weather!
Loaded up with raincoats, beanies, gloves, snacks and plenty of water we caught a bus to checacupe for s/6.50, it took around 2 and a half hours but came with beautiful deep valleys, bridges and twisting roads. From here we tried to find the collectivos that supposedly head out, but seeing as we were so late, there were none around – so we opted for a taxi ride (after a lot of bargaining and confusion we finally ended up paying s/170 for a round trip and for him to wait at the car park for us and deliver us back to checacupe in the afternoon). With two of us loaded in the boot, the dirt road littered with potholes, and a sketchy road on the edge of a cliff (which seems to be a common theme in Peru), we set off towards the hike!
Starting the hike we were bombarded with a stream of hikers and horse riders coming back down, we felt a bit like we were fighting the current, and were often told to turn back – even our taxi driver told us we should hurry up and not be too long, so we powered on and rushed to get to the top!
Rushing was maybe a mistake – the highest point of the mountain is higher then 5000m, and every step up there seemed to be a struggle.
We had a beer up the top, took a lot of photos, regained our strength and turned around for a speedy return! Being the only people up there made for a surreal experience, and with the valleys, snow peaked mountains and ridge lines on every side, the beauty we were surrounded with was absolutely breathtaking.
It took around an hour and a half from our start point to walk up, and then an hour to get down.
On the way down we raced away from some clouds and walked in some sunshine, getting closer to our start point we were suddenly surrounded by thousands of llamas! All headed home for the night, it felt like we were part of the migration, and we too began to head home for the night having survived an epic day of adventures (3 and a half hours later and we were back at our hostel in Cusco).
The wilderness that surrounded us was awesome, sublime even!
The colours of the mountain were very unique, and despite the difficulty faced getting up there, this has possibly been one of the highlights of my adventure so far. Of course, good company and a sense of humour certainly made it a better day!