A travel moment in Peru

Wed set off from the small village of Ollyantaytambo in Peru early that afternoon. The idyllic village was located in the middle of a valley which sat at the foot of the glowing, snow capped Andes mountains. We embarked on a bus which was rather luxurious for typical Peruvian transport however 17 of us were compacted into just 13 seats. Never the less we became our journey to the small town of Mollepata, where we planned on embarking on the Inka Trail. Gradually as we snaked through the valley, the roads became increasing narrow until you almost felt claustrophobic as you were tightly pushed against the valley sides each time you met a new car. After going through the valley we got to the bottom of the mountains where we became to drive upwards winding through hair pin bend after hair pin bend. Each curve brought a glimpse of the mountains at a different angle.

It was clear when the temperature began to drop and when the sun began to go down, surrounded by an apricot fog that we had left behind the desert and were now venturing into more unknown and mysterious mountainous territory. As we arrived into the small town of Mollepata there was not a soul to be seen, we were most certainly the only tourists in town, this made us feel somewhat alone and like preparation for the gruelling trek we faced in the morning. As night began to fall and we began to settle into our basic hostel the nerves about what was in store for us crept in.

By 6am the following morning, before the day had even broken, we had set off. We started hiking first through the forest, surrounded by tall, spindly trees which created a bleak and unsettling atmosphere of anticipation and fear of the challenge in the day ahead. As we reached the end of the forest and reached the foot of the mountain we were to climb we caught a glimpse of the top, glistening with fresh snow from a chilly night before. As we slowly ascended the first stage of the peak we began to see other mountains circling us and we felt slightly encased by numerous empty summits. We finally arrived after around 2 hours from when we first began at a flat plain of land. However it took me a few moments, as I was out of breath, to notice the stunning sight that was around me. I saw a mountain range with a milky haze stagnated on top of it. It created a magical sort of feeling which felt encouraging. At the same time it also made the landscape feel mysterious and undiscovered, which created an invigorating feeling because the sight was so beautiful and extraordinary!

Z Rawson

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