Walking through the streets of Cusco, I stop to look at the Christmas lights that adorn the trees in plazas and hang from balconies above the streets. Familiar tunes and melodies echo out from stores as I continue my way across town through the side streets.
Being away from family during the holidays can be a little sad. I find myself missing the snow cover Colorado landscapes, our quirky traditions and the quality time we spend together cooking, eating, playing games, and all the rest. However being in a foreign land with strange traditions has it's draws too. Having the chance to tag along on trek up Salkantay, I jumped at the opportunity.
The four of us set out on a five-day expedition from the City of Cusco to the encampment of Soraypampa, the towns of Challway and Lucmabamba. We then continued further to the ruins of Llactapata to Santa Teresa and Hydro Electric. The trek up Salkantay is considered to be the main alternative to the Inca Trail, but even so the people were few and the sights were worth the climb.
Salkantay Mountain looms over the trail for the first two days; reaching over 6,271m (20,574ft) its prominence is truly profound. Although it was a bit cloudy Salkantay sometimes graced us with its vast glacial presence giving me a little whiteness, on a very unconventional Christmas.