Meeting my guide for special trips is always important, but even more important is my first encounter with the lovely animal that will carry me up and down some steep trails for the next two days.
Early on, Lázaro and I met up with another arriero (guide), delivering food to tourists camping in the high country. Fortunately, we had plenty of coca leaves to chew throughout the journey. The road is easy to navigate on horseback for the first four hours.
The most dramatic photos are those recorded in my personal memory, as the way was too rough to photograph. What a shame that I didn't have a video camera mounted on my head. I was completely focused on keeping my balance on a sure-footed (de buen pie) horse. We worked well together under challenging and dangerous conditions. After considerable effort we arrived at the scenic plateau of Tajotambo where there is a hut for sleeping and cooking. The site is an ancient Chachapoya/Inca resting place. The hut is built from salvaged stones from ancient cultures.
This stone support has Inca inscriptions, ca. 1500 ad.
This is a roof support where I will sleep tonight.
At this elevation of about 9,000 feet above sea level my heart begins to race and it becomes difficult to take each step. We hike to get a closer view of the La Petaca cliff in the distance.
We get to a sunny spot close to the cliff, where we can view the chullpas or burial mausoleums. I rest on my back, looking up, and eventually see the burial tombs in the cliff (lower right in photo below).
On the walk back to the hut Lázaro collects firewood for our dinner and breakfast.
Ancient stones, first placed here 500 and more years ago.
Next day I survive the challenging ride down the canyon to meet with the road below. No photos means that it was a hair raising experience with no time for pictures.
Back on terra firma we meet up with the daily milk truck. The truck collects milk produced in the area every day, and that includes Sundays, holidays, and even soccer finals.
We return to our destination near Leymebamba, protected by the spirits from bad weather.