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Lares Adventure – Day 4: Huacahuasi

First thing after a lovely breakfast spread on Day Four of the Lares Adventure, our group set off on a morning waterfall hike. At around 8:30am, we wound our way through the sunlit valley of Huacahuasi to see that the village was already awake and alive with chores of the day. We spotted women doing laundry and tending to their children and livestock, while the men were away in the hills working with their crops, save for Valentine who was our 911 horse handler for the day. (The 911 horses come along with hikers, carrying medical supplies in case of emergencies.)

One of the highlights of our morning was getting to visit with a local highlands woman and her family. This is another experience that I’m sure we couldn’t have arranged on our own. Touring the inside of their home gave us some insight as to how the Quechua people live, with simple means and basic provisions, and how truly happy they are with a lifestyle of having what they need versus unnecessary stuff.

I noticed that they have electricity, but it is powering a single-bulb light fixture and a small sewing machine rather than an over-abundance of electronic items. Their nutrition comes from potatoes, quinoa, vegetables, and the guinea pigs we spotted rustling around under a pile of hay rather than processed food and sodas. I came away from our visit with a new appreciation for a more minimalist approach to living. (Says the girl hiking through the village with a GoPro, an iPhone, AND a camera, but I’d like to try to simplify in other areas!)

We continued on through the village and up into the mountainside in search of the waterfall. Our group shared the trail with quite a few furry friends along the way. Earlier in the trip I remember wondering if we would see any llamas or alpacas while hiking and the answer was yes…indeed we would see a lot of them. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between alpacas and llamas, my understanding is that alpacas are smaller with shorter faces and ears, while llamas are sometimes double the size of an alpaca and they have long, banana-shaped ears with long muzzles.

That, and alpacas make better joke material: “Want to go on a picnic? Alpaca lunch!” (Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all night.)

Here Eddie and crew are waiting for me to climb some rocks and make it up the hill. Hiking is hard when you’re constantly trying to capture everything on camera and on video! I did manage to put down the devices and enjoy the scenery every once in a while, but that’s hard when everything is so interesting and photogenic! And I don’t have any facts for you about the waterfall or the trail. It was simply a beautiful hike for taking in the scenery, fresh air, and Vitamin D.

Back at the lodge, we attended a short cooking class where we learned to make Peruvian causa, a layered dish made with tuna fish and potatoes. No stove or oven was involved so there was nothing for me to burn, and despite my deep dislike for tuna, this was actually pretty good. (Mine was made with no mayonnaise, of course.) After the class we ate our creations as an appetizer before another wonderful meal.

I can’t think of anything better after a hike and a hearty meal than an afternoon in the outdoor Jaccuzi overlooking the valley. Even in mid-July, the air was quite crisp at this altitude, so we were thankful for the toasty temperature of the water. Such a nice feature of Huacahuasi Lodge!

Next post: our mountain biking adventure through Urubamba and a trip to a brewery all the way out in the middle of the Sacred Valley!

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