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Monday 21 Apr
El Chorro Inca Trek, Bolivia

Galaxies, Fireflies, Lightening

Valeria took us to the bus station at 6:30am (Bruce sitting in the back with R). We got straight on a minibus that would drop us off at the start of the trail (the highest point). It was like a different world- snow-capped mountain. There was a lake and the mountain reflected perfectly in the water. It was beautiful. We struggled to breathe though as the beginning of the trek quickly climbed to 4900m!! We shared some chocolate for energy- golfer block our hitching favourite! The view as we reached the high pass was breathtaking. The path was laid out ahead of us- as I expected from an Inca trail. We saw old women carrying goods along the path, llamas, inca ruins. In the middle of the day we went through a cloudy patch and saw amazing moss growing off the tree branches, emerald hummingbirds, bright red birds. We saw lots of baby animals with their mums- sheep, pigs, chickens, cows- obviously it's that season here! Gradually the trek went to rainforest type terrain.
Most of the trek is downhill- which sounds easier but actually when you are never going flat, just down and up on uneven cobbled paths all day it is very tough on legs! We had put all our gear in one bag and took turns with it but it was actually harder because it meant carrying a lot of weight for a few days.
We finally made it to our campsite- it is a 3 day hike but we are doing it in 2 so we pushed our first day camping further. It was called 'buena vista' and it was certainly that- a complete view of the valley- stunning. We put up our tent and cooked our noodles on our stove- accompanied by the grazing horses sharing our space (and the several cats). It got dark quickly and it was so clear we could see galaxies above us. Add to that the many fireflies dancing around us, and the distant lightening we could see down the valley. It was a stunning evening.

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