The Team

Susan Carder
Mary Ann Foster
Chandra Kudsia
Dev Kudsia
Rajeev Kudsia
Peter Troop
Kathy Yates

Trek Leader
Sanjay Saxena

Peruvian Guides
Guido Huaman
Lixayda Vasquez


Arrival Day - Lima
Sacred Valley
Trek Day 1
Trek Day 2
Trek Day 3
Trek Day 4
Trek Day 5
Trek Day 6
Machu Picchu
Last Day in Peru

Featuring the Mountain Lodges of Peru
October 25 to November 7, 2013

Greetings from the trekking group to Peru.

Tuesday, October 29th – CUSCO TO SALKANTAY at SORAYPAMPA (12,500 ft)

Tour Schedule: After an early breakfast, we will depart our Cusco hotel at 7:00 a.m. and begin our journey to the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (SLAR) in Soraypampa. En route we will take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo. After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road Marcoccasa. Total drive time from Cusco today is approximately three hours.

From Marcoccasa, we will begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Road). This is a good opportunity for guests to acclimate and enjoy a mild & beautiful four hour trek on their first day. Today’s hiking level is moderate. For guests who do not wish to participate in today’s trekking activity, you will continue on to the Salkantay Lodge & Resort by vehicle.

The Salkantay Lodge & Resort takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – the mighty Salkantay, the 2nd most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 20,600 ft (6,270 m), the highest peak in the region. Towering above the Soraypampa valley below, Salkantay is a truly inspiring vision. Also visible is the sacred peak of Huamantay. After a warm Andean welcome from the friendly staff at the Salkantay Lodge & Resort, we check in to our rooms and have time to relax and freshen up after our first trek. The remainder of the evening is spent at leisure for further acclimatization and relaxation. The Lodge has a wonderful and peaceful fireside lounge, serving invigorating cocoa tea, refreshments and snacks. The lodge also has an incredibly inviting Jacuzzi / hot tub with an absolutely magical view of Salkantay (the hot tubs are a wonderful amenity at three of our mountain lodges along the way). This evening we will have a trek briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner in the lodge’s splendid loft dining room, with panoramic views of Soraypampa and Salkantay.

Our first view of Salkantay - the mountain we hike around

Susan, Mary Ann, Peter and Kathy

The Kudsias

From Kathy's Journal: Scented Towels and Hot Water Bottles
Today we began the trek to Machu Picchu (“old mountain”). We left our beautiful, colonial-style hotel early to head out in a caravan of two buses to the trail head at Sayllapata, making brief stops at an archeological site and an economic development site (Mollepata) along the way. The archeological site is unrestored, but another great example of the strategic thinking of the Inka leaders, who chose vantage points from which they could control the access to key rivers and valleys. The Spanish then captured those sites and built colonial fortresses and churches on top of the Inka temples, as a way of pronouncing Spanish ascendancy. The Spanish, however, were not as adept as the Inka in building durable fortresses, and many colonial-era buildings, made of adobe instead of stone, have been destroyed in earthquakes. The Peruvian government is in the process of restoring both types of architecture, embracing all aspects as part of the modern Peruvian culture and history.

Molleplata is a high (“pata”), medium-sized tambo (town), named after the surrounding pepper trees (“Molle”)which are used for cooking but also, in ancient times, mummification. There, Mountain Lodges of Peru has partnered with local women to help them start small businesses to add to the economic well-being of their families. We tasted locally-made gooseberry and elderberry jam, honey and bee pollen, and also visited a local weaver. Peter and I purchased some delicious gooseberry marmalade and Peter found a smart, trekking hat of Peruvian design to give him better shade and head protection for what lies ahead.

Our trek today was a moderate 6 miles, climbing first at a gentle slope, then traversing a step section with multiple switchbacks so that we could access a beautiful but narrow trail that runs along a local aqueduct, bringing water to the steep hillsides for agriculture. The aqueduct is modern, but follows the ancient water channels built by the Inka. It was a lovely trail from which we had great views of the Rio Blanco, which filled the valley below with the powerful, echoing sound of rushing water, on it’s journey from the snow-capped peaks of the to its ultimate destination of the Amazon River, and then the Atlantic.

Our group of eight persons, two extended family units, joined by the friendship of Susan Carder and Chandra Kudsia, travels well together. We go at our own paces without feeling either rushed or delayed; we have lots of laughs and stories to tell; we share different aspects of our work, our cultures, our homelands (California, Nevada, Canada), our families. It makes the walking and the meals meaningful.

By 4:40 we all arrive at the Salkantay Lodge, first of four Mountain Lodges of Peru that we will occupy during our 6-day trek. We are greeted by the staff offering scented, hot towels for us to wipe our hands and faces. We head first for the outdoor hot tub, where we meet other travelers and watch the sun slip behind the snow-capped mountain peaks. At night, hot water bottles are placed under our down comforters so we can snuggle in for a good night’s sleep. Adventure travel doesn't get any better than this.

perfectly located - the Salkantay Lodge