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Team Rose Bowl trip complete!

Today our team enjoyed a leisurely morning in Aguas Calientes and a nice lunch at Inkaterra. After exploring the cobblestone streets and alleys around town bustling with markets and retaurants, we left on the train in the afternoon and made our way back to Cusco. We wrapped up the evening with a farewell dinner in a beautiful colonial restaurant serving delicious Peruvian cuisine and Sushi. We were all tuckered out after our trek and visit to Machu Picchu so after lots of hugs, we retired in the ever welcoming El Mercado hotel to rest up for another travel day tomorrow, this time returning to our respective homes.

We will all bring back a new perspective of Peru and all of its wonders, both historic, natural and personal. What an amazing country and people and what a great group to share the experience with trekking through the Andes. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know and trek with such fine folks. Thank you all!

Until the next adventure, be well and Salud!

-Anna Zajicek

Team Rose Bowl takes on Machu Picchu!

Today our team had the pleasure of visiting one of the 7 new wonders of the new world, Machu Picchu, a historic Inca site that has captured the imagination and hearts of millions ever since Hiram Bingham’s famous expedition with National Geographic in 1912 and was also declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983.

Myself and Rivers braved the early morning crowds and got in line for the bus at 4:30 to try and catch the early sunrise on the city. We made it on time and watched as the sun rose over the mountains to the east and spread its light on the Inca Citadel. Built around 1450 presumably as a royal estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti, Machu Picchu sits on a ridge line around 8,000 feet above the Urubamba River.

The whole group met up early morning and some hiked to the sun gate while others climbed Machu Pichu mountain. We all met for lunch and then continued our visit with a tour given by our local guide Aly. We learned about their relationship to the sun,mountains and stars, witnessed the incredible stonework, and were smitten with the llamas. It was a long day but full, enriching and humbling to see this wonder of the world. It was extra special knowing we trekked over the mountains like the Inca did in the 15th century to reach this historic site!

Tomorrow we will make our way back to Cusco for our final farewell dinner before our team makes the journey home.

Team Rose Bowl completes the trek to Machu Picchu!

Yesterday was a big day for team Rose Bowl! After 6 days of trekking through the Andes we left the Lucma Lodge and headed towards Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu.

After another delicious breakfast at the lodge we put on the day packs one last time and the majority of the group hit the trail, climbing over 2,000 feet through the cloud forest to the Inca site of Llactapata located high on a ridge between the Urubamba and Santa Teresa drainages. It is suggested that the site was an important rest stop and roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu. We had perfect weather and could see the ridge where Machu Picchu sits from the site!

From there we hiked down to a lovely cafe perched high on an exposed ridge line and stopped for a leisurely lunch of avacado salad, chicken and lentils and rice with of course banana desert. It was a nice spot to rest and even catch a cat nap 🙂

After another 2,000 feet down we hiked along the river to the hydro eclectic plant aka the train stop where we met up with the team members who decided to take a rest day on their knees amd taxied to the train(options are good!) and we caught our train to Agaus Calientes. The train wrapped around Machu Picchu mountain and had beautiful sweeping views through the skylights of rugged Andean ridge lines and forested cliffs. We were dropped off near our beautiful Inkaterra hotel and all quite happy to take off our hiking boots and get into the shower!

We ended the day with a happy hour and a beautiful dinner together by the hotel, celebrating the completion of our trek to Machu Picchu! A job well done by all.

Next: Machu Picchu!

Trekking in Peru From Collpa lodge to Lucma Lodge!

Today team Rose Bowl moved from Collpa (9,400) lodge down further through the cloud forest to the Lucma Lodge(7,300) getting closer to our end goal, Machu Picchu. It rained all through the night and so we were all happy to see the sun come out in the morning. After another delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon, fruit and fresh fruit juice, we laced up our hiking boots, put on our packs and started down the trail. Today we passed waterfalls, and walked along the Santa Teresa river which flows into the Amazon. We stopped for a delicious trail side lunch of steak and fries with veggie salad and a fruit desert. After a short hike onwards we got in a bus and drove 45 minutes down a bumpy crazy road with huge drop offs to the river until reaching the Inca trail to Llactapata. On the hike up to our lodge some folks stopped to enjoy a coffee plantation where they sampled freshly roasted coffee, Kaluha and other delectables. The rest went ahead to the lodge to kick off the dirty boots and enjoy a refreshment. All were soon there and enjoyed a nice hot tub soak, and celebrated the last night in the lodges together. It has been a great experience with a wonderful group and we still have Machu Picchu to look forward to! Tomorrow we hike up to Llactapata, a historic Inca site that looks across the valley to Machu Picchu before we climb back down to all take the train to Aguas Calientes together. The adventure continues! Stay tuned! Photos include last nights pisco sour making class 🙂

Peru Trekking Into the cloud forest

Our team trekked down 3,000 ft in elevation through the cloud forest today, where we saw orchids, hummingbirds and other flowers endemic to these high alpine forests. On our way out of our last lodge we walked under the increbly scenic Humantay Peak (18,000 ft). Upon arrival at our next lodge we were welcomed by a stone fire in which potatoes, tubers, lamb, chicken and pork were cooked. For lunch we had a Peruvian feast which included the infamous cuy, or guinea pig, a delicacy and festive dish in Peru. This evening we will have a Pisco sour demo followed by tastings 🙂 Tomorrow we continue on our path to Machu Picchu! Stay tuned.

Overall quality of the trip was fantastic.  Just enough trekking to enjoy the mtns but also have some downtime to allow for people to relax and enjoy other things.  Quality of the food and lodging first rate.  Demeanor of the guides were excellent.  Mountain lodges or peru guide super knowledgeable. No weakness.

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