A trekker friend and I set out on an Indiana Jones-esque excursion to the ruins of Choquequirao, the
so-called Cradle of God. The trail was tough; going straight down a full 1,000m to the Apurimac River and then 1,500m back up again, switch backing the whole way. But we were fit after all the recent trekking we’d done, most of all including the high route of Asungate. In fact we were feeling great with such richly oxygenate, high-altitude blood flowing in our veins.
That’s not to say it was a breeze, we still had to carry all of our gear all that way, and even after a late start on what was truly an amusing trip via colectivo, we still had ambitious plans of reaching the top. Everyone we asked along the way – tourists, guides, mule drivers, and locals – said it wasn’t possible.
“Está tan lejos... es bastante dificíl... no es possible,” It’s so far, it’s very too difficult, it’s just not possible. But call it stubbornness, call it what you will… we did it anyway. Ending the night with a delicious and well deserved meal at Marampata – just outside the park gates.
The city itself encompasses an area of over 17,000 hectares, which is massive as far as ancient cities are concerned – bigger even than Machu Picchu, but since it’s harder to get to it means less people. Twelve people at these ruins compared to 2,000 at Machu Picchu. We had the space to wonder, the time to double back and reconsider this nearly secret citadel, 70% of which is still covered beneath cloud forest-like vegetation.
But not for long, the state government has stated it as a priority to build a cable car route across the valley, bypassing the climb, bypassing the trek that makes getting there all that much more worth it – turning our Indiana Jones style adventure into just another effortless Disneyland tourist stop.
Having first hand experienced the slow pace at which projects of much smaller magnitude progress, as well as the ill promises and general disorder of local government, I firmly believe it will be yet some time before hints of such things begin to manifest. It’s hard to imagine cables, pylons, and beams transecting the sky, tourists in massive throngs, and guards around every corner shooing you along.
I don’t want to deny anything from anyone, but some things are just so much more profound when they require such strenuous feats.
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