On Friday the day started for the group at 8:30 when we left Ollantaytambo for an overnight camping hike, but a couple of us woke up extra early to play soccer with some locals. The two of us (Max and Elena), Grace, and Alex met at a small fenced in soccer field at six in the morning and scrimmaged with a bunch of Peruvians for an hour. Elena made friends with many of the old guys.
After breakfast with each of our own host families, our four-hour hike began. Everyone was happy and healthy, carrying their own pack of clothes and a toothbrush (except Angelica, who was carrying nothing, and Señor Viacava, who was carrying two bags). It was fun to walk by different houses and see people tilling as families and going about their daily lives. At one point, a dog decided to follow us and ended up staying around for two whole days until Señor Viacava scared it away with methods we cannot share with you in this censored blog. After a couple reapplications of sunscreen and bug spray, we came out of the woods (don’t worry, Mom, I did a tick check) to a spectacular view of 79 agricultural terraces and the massive mountains around us. We stopped here for corn soup sprinkled with cheese and a dish of potatoes and chicken, and then played cards until it was time to continue to our campsite.
After a brief rest (because Max is always muy cansado), we played soccer in the backyard of one of our tour guide’s friends. The game was very competitive, but Pancho (one of our Peruvian hosts and friends) was definitely the MVP.
The highlight of both of our days was when we returned to camp to find hot chocolate and fresh popcorn. We all played manhunt and capture the flag in the dark until being called for a long, romantic, candlelit dinner inside the big tent. Conscious of not wasting food, we shared our dinners, as some of us won’t eat our vegetables. Our long dinner was cut short when Pancho announced a campfire and roasting marshmallows outside. We ended the day sitting around the fire together with sticky fingers and many stars above.
Luckily, we all managed to avoid the pumas roaming around the tents. We are all looking forward to another many days of excursions and time with our families.