The Heartland, The Sacred Valley

When my dad Jim decided to come visit us in Peru, and in addition stay to hike Tres-Chicas-Locas-style, we knew the historically rich Sacred Valley just north of Cusco was a great option. The typical tourist experiences the Sacred Valley via a full day bus tour, mainly stopping to shop at local artesan markets- not my dad's style and definitely not our style either. Our SAS guide from our Machu Picchu trek had drawn us a fabulous map of the area and we opted to take it in stride instead. As we headed to Urubamba in the late afternoon, the memories of our last night out in Cusco with Sarah and our huge visiting clans weighed heavy on my eyes. Around one of the many bends, the sunset across the valley caught my eye and brought me back to life- we had clearly reached this so-called Sacred Valley.

Heading from Cusco to Urubamba
Just Dos Chicas for now... Sarah left us for a bit to tour the Galapagos with her family
Trinity, my dad Jim, and I hit the road to Moray the next morning and after touring the archaelogical sites we were back on the trail less traveled. The first day led us from Moray to Maras, through the rolling hills, quaint villages and distant mountains to Cruzpata and finally to Chinchero. The first sign for lodging on the "main strip" caught our eye and we took a few cheap beds above a restaurant. Our living standards previous to this trip have long been forgotten. I realized this lifestyle is not common place for my father (since his 20's) but he simply rolled out his sleeping bag in one of the more disgusting rooms we have stayed in over the last nine months and didn't complain once... well at least not until he saw the shared bathroom- I will spare you details. Maybe he was just too tired since we had walked for nearly seven hours and he refuses to adjust to lightweight backpacking ideas. 

Sacred Valley in all its glorious colors

Ruins at Moray - used the varying levels to study climate on crops or as a seedling nursery
Using the original stairs at Moray- sets of protruding rocks from the walls
Hitting the road, Maras in the distance

Trinity aquired a relentless cough during our tour of Machu Picchu that had also left her without a voice (post last night in Cusco with Sarah and friends). We developed a variety of whistles for the trail to say "hold up" or "I gotta pee" or simply "OMG this is so beautiful!" since she couldn't voice her enthusiasm about the monstrous peaks that walled in the abundance of golden fields and history. Torn between continuing to hike and likely worsen her sickness or head back to Cusco to recover before we hit a more agressive trail in a few days, she opted to start hiking with us day two. From Communidad de Tauca (just outside of Chinchero) we left a crystal blue lake in our wake and slowly ascended the valley via a wide, well maintained trail. As the box canyon grew and the pass became clearer up above, Trinity's lungs fought the cold air to get a decent breath and she surrendered to returning to Cusco to rest. My dad and I continued on the trail to Huchuy Qosqo, ruins located on a plateau above Lamay. The trail turned to steep switchbacks from the ruins to town and my Dad kept checking his altimeter to let me know we had descended over 2,000 vertical feet and how glad he was that we were not doing the hike in reverse! 

The trails to Huchuy Qosqo were well-marked and well-maintained
The fabulous rocks on the pass to Huchuy Cusco
Heading down the other side of the pass, Lamay (not visible) about 4,500 ft below
Daddy's girl! Looking forward to getting on the trail with you in CO as well :)
Incan terraces probably used for agriculture, above Huchuy Cosco
My father is a smart man. However, he has a strong propensity to hold onto aged equipment long past its prime, always thinking he could get a few more miles out of them. For example: he clung to his old school bright orange Lange ski boots for well over a decade (were they rear entry?), I recently helped him make the switch from cotton to wool undershirts, and he was shooken-up before this trip when he could not find his patched up sleeping bag from when it barely survived a bearfight many moons ago (Luckily, he was not in it at the time- good thing we don't have to worry about food in the tent in South America!). His pre-Shelley era hiking boots began giving him blisters on the Salkantay Trek and they did not let up. We knew the blisters were going to cut the hiking short and once Trinity left, we opted to head to Pisac, enjoy a day in the city and give his feet a rest. A few more delicious meals in Cusco and we sent my Dad back to the states with a similar version of Trinity's sickness... probably happy to be back to the comforts of home.

Huchuy Qosqo- "Little Cusco" in the Sacred Valley
The "Heartland" of the Incan Empire- this really captures the heart of a Kansas girl
Thank you for coming to trek Peru with us Dad! I love you!!
*Hiking in Sacred Valley: Although we didn't stick to our original plan, there are several treks around Sacred Valley if you are in the area looking to explore. You can link Huchuy Cosco to Tambo Machay for a 2 day stretch and/or link in the Lares Valley for a 2 or 3 day trek to Ollantaytambo

1 comment:

  1. hello
    I like your itinerary in the city of Cusco, the city is very nice, if you wanted information as to hotels, tour or learn Spanish here I found a very good page http://www.studyspanishsacredvalley.com/ that talks about the city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley. I hope to help

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