On my 5th and final day of the Salkantay trek, as I ate breakfast, I heard 3 different land slides. Two behind me and another further back. A few minutes later, I was told about a hiker that had just died a few days prior. She was on the trail I avoided in lieu of the dirt road. I wrote about that decision on my 4th day of this trek. Hearing this news made me incredibly sad. It’s different when you hear about someone that did something dumb and lost their life. When it’s something out of ones control, it’s heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. The woman basically fell down the cliff as some soil gave out under her. Something like that can happen to anyone. I was told her friend was close by and watched her fall. Here is a link to the article from her home town describing the incident.
I packed up camp and made a donation to the place. Even though I was told I could stay for free, the use of the table and bathroom merited some sort of compensation.
I started down the road contemplating about the decision I made the day prior to take the road instead of the path. The woman’s death hit me pretty hard and preoccupied a lot of space in my mind throughout the hike.
There were two things I was looking forward to today. The first was Llactapata and my first sighting of Machu Picchu. I didn’t know I would run into the Inka Starbucks along the way. I love the marketing ploy.
Today’s Notable Vegetation
It was raining pretty heavily when I got to Llactapata. I explored the site some getting thoroughly soaked.
Here you can see parts of Llactapata that have been overtaken by nature. There were paths to this section but they were not maintained. It was hard to grasp the scale of the actual site since it was still not fully exposed. From my impression though, it was not very vast.
After Llactapata you climb up and get to a large camp. There you have a spectacular view. In the distance, you can see the emblematic mountains of Machu Picchu. I sat here for quite some time just enjoying this beautiful site.
Then, sadly I realized I had to get moving. I continued dutily down hill. I lost my mind when I saw a bunch of bananas on the floor. Some were rotting but I selected one that looked good enough to consume and had a delicious trail snack. It gave me a little boost of energy for the rest of the trip down.
I eventually got to this area where you can see some of the hydroelectric infrastructure.
At the point I was at Hidroelectrica, it was getting late in the day. The sun would be setting soon. Since it was a day early I had 2 nights to kill before I could go to Machu Picchu. I had two options. Walk down the tracks, or go to Santa Teresa. After speaking to some locals I opted for Santa Teresa. I haggled really hard for a taxi there since they wanted to charge me double the normal fare. We finally agreed on a 50% markup and I was dropped off in town at a rotisserie chicken spot the driver recommended. Right beside it was a hotel so I inquired about the cost of lodging before heading to dinner. It was a wonderful 20 soles ($6.17USD) for a room with a private bathroom, tv, and a little couch. I eagerly took it. I was dirty but the hunger beat my shame on going to dinner a smelly mess. I got myself a quarter chicken with some fried rice and then headed back to my room to take that much needed shower. I knocked out soon after that.