“After days of trekking first sighting of Machu Picchu

Sunsets… Camping under a full moon with view of Machu Picchu in the distance… waking up at dark to see stars and watch sunrise over ruins…

Early morning arrival at Machu Picchu.. sunrise and clouds lifting over ruins… magic”

Thus begin Charlie Tourtellotte’s travel notes from his recent Peruvian trek. Cresting Salkantay Pass at 15,200 feet, Charlie stayed warm by sleeping with warm water bottles stuffed in the foot of his sleeping bag. And to deal with the altitude, he made sure to drink lots of Coca Tea.

Charlie recalls the “calming sounds of the Inca water systems (irrigation, plumbing, and drainage) still operating and running through the narrow streets.”

After the peace of the Peruvian Alps and the Sacred Valley, Charlie descended to Ollantaytambo and then to Cusco where he found himself swarmed by a massive protest:

“Teachers’ strike makes travel difficult and almost impossible for a few days, giant boulders in road as roadblocks, alternate routes through mountain passes and towns at high speed on sketchy dirt roads, taxi destruction by protesters, train tracks taken apart and derailed trains, dogs attacking the car wheels while in motion…”

Onward. To San Blas and his AirBnB in the hills above Plaza de Armas, where he inhaled the “incredible Incan ruins and beautiful Spanish colonial architecture,” and imbibed ceviche, quinoa, and Cusquena (Beer). He chose not to eat the Cuy (Guinea Pig), opting for more coca delights.

Fireworks woke him every morning around 6am, and every night found him taking a cold shower with “electric shower heads with wires running from outlets above my head in the shower while I stand in a puddle of water.”

From puddles and protests to peaks and valleys, Charlie took it all in with his trekker’s stride and insatiable curiosity. Ever the humble photographer, he moved quietly and mindfully through this land and its people and made “incredible lifelong friendships” along the way. Thanks for the rad images and stories, Charlie!

A Trekker’s Tale: Peru

About The Author
- Jeff McElroy is a Ventura and Mammoth Lakes-based writer. His surf/coast-inspired short story collections, CALIFORNIOS and CALIFORNIOS 2 have received awards and accolades within the boardsport and literary communities. He writes about adventure athletes and the wild places for EDGEtv Network. When he's not writing, he's surfing, backpacking, snowboarding, and trail-running with his wife and Jack Russell Terrier.

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