After the long trek we had yesterday, I slept really well. Perhaps the tea and rum mix also helped. When I awoke and stepped out from my tent, I didn’t expect to see ourselves in such a deep and narrow valley. Quite a sight considering that it was dark enough when we arrived that we didn’t really get to see what our surroundings looked like.
While most of the group was still asleep or in the process of waking up, I noticed a girl had perched herself nearby our tent with a local canine friend. She seemed pretty shy and quiet but a couple of us approached her and purchased bracelets from her. I hadn’t seen a design that I really liked until then. I also realized I was still carrying some fruit and so I offered her some.
Seeing this girl got me thinking about how important education was to all children around the world. It saddens me to see the potential and future of these little people going to waste because their families simply cannot afford to send them off to the cities to attend school. I know progress takes time and things are gradually getting better but sometimes I wonder if it is those who get stuck in the transition stages that have the hardest experiences. I hope at the very least, this little girl has the opportunity to learn to read.
As the sun continued to rise, people quietly began to come out of their tents and the packing up process began. Since this was the last day of the trek itself, some supplies ran out — like toilet paper! Fortunately, there were no emergencies.
It wasn’t going to be a long day of hiking so we leisurely enjoyed our breakfast and then continued our descent out of the valley. The change in landscape and scenery was simply astounding — and weather became significantly warmer. It was a bit of a challenge hiking downhill for so long and there were sections of the trail where it was just composed of lots of loose rock. Some referred to it as the “Indiana Jones” trail. As a result, I didn’t take many photos of the remainder of the trek. Most of the trail to the end took us through wooded area deeper into the valley.
After the morning trek up and down through the woods and out of the valley, we assembled to share our appreciation with the pack mule drivers and chef who helped and treated us so well along the way. They were brilliant people.
We had even planned a brief football match but I think most people were focused on eating lunch. By the time we finished, it was time to catch a ride to the train station after dropping by Ollantaytambo to pick up some large backpacks that a few people left behind at their hotel room.
The ride on the train was quite luxurious and refreshing. As we were lining up, I almost lost my ticket when the wind blew it out of my hand. It almost flew under the train (thank goodness it didn’t)! Once we were seated, there were some drinks and snacks that were passed around, and out came the deck of cards again. There were some winning streaks to be defended or broken!
To our surprise, after getting off the train and walking into the town of Aguas Calientes — we realized that there were more hills to climb in town just to reach the hostel we were staying in. For some, that was unbearable while I just thought it was amusingly ironic. Soon after we reached out much pined-for destination, we got cleaned up (after three days of not showing) and head out to enjoy dinner and the nightlife before catching the early morning bus to Machu Picchu.