This is part 2/3 - Read the full story here.
I unzipped the rain fly carefully as it was soaked from the midnight rain. I walked out into the cold mountain morning and saw that the clouds had cleared. From were I stood I was greeted with a view of pure glacier superiority. I stared for a while before wandering off to fetch some water from a nearby stream. When my sister emerged I caught her glance and gestured dramatically towards the glaciers. She spun around wildly as if they were about ready to fly away, and I could see the excitement in her pose.
Fly away they did not, but the clouds came back soon enough to hide the jagged peaks from our view. We made a simple but fortifying breakfast and then we were off again, starting the day with a climb over Ipsay Pass. It didn’t take to much time but a great deal of effort, lugging our packs over 4,550m (15,000ft).
At the pass the wind picked up into a fierce icy blow. We stayed only long enough to take a few pictures, marvel at the views, and for our noses to go a little numb. Then the decent began, steeply at first, rejoining the meandering mud paths that were such a mainstay of the previous day. We passed a small alpine lake, more alpaca herds, and a few more isolated stone houses – there wasn't a tree in sight.
We rounded the bend and the entire valley opened up before us in both directions. A winding road lay far, far below passing through a conglomeration of houses in the distance...
“There!” I pointed to the enclave, “That’s Patacancha and that’s were we are going.”
Down, down and down some more. The rain came in short bursts of mist and chill while the sun teased us through a patch of blue sky - always just out of reach. I beckoned it with my mind, but stubborn are the clouds indeed. Once In Patacancha we linked up with the narrow dirt road that leads further down to Ollantaytambo – but that wasn’t our destination, at least not for today.
Continuing our walk further down along the road for an hour, we hoped to hitch a ride but no cars passed. After yet another hour of walking we crammed into an overcrowded colectivo – overcrowded even by Peru standards. We had walked so much already it was a quick 15-minute trip before we were back on our feet at the entrance of the Pumamarca Archeological Park. We didn’t know it at the time but we had another long climb ahead of us. Back and forth, we switched up another 1,000m (3,280ft) before finally making it to the campground located just below the ruins.
Completely relieved to get off our feet after a long day, we expelled effort only to unroll the still soaking tent in hopes that it might dry. We then sat for a long while just watching the sky clear, too tiered to bother with anything else. The air was much warmer here but not a ray was to be had as the sun now teased us from just behind a nearby peak.
We accomplished the remaining camp tasks in the fleeting light of dusk, and stayed out long enough to see a few stars emerge behind the silhouettes of the remaining clouds. Warm in my sleeping bag my feet thanked me that their time to rest had come at last, and I thanked them back for carrying me so far. I remember nothing more as my tiredness set in and took over.