We had breakfast at the hotel, before loading up the van at seven for the three-hour drive to the Lares Trail. We stopped for supplies in one local town and then stopped at a Hot Springs where some of the group soaked. After a hearty lunch, we began our hike.
I settled in behind one of our guides, Mayra, who was leading the group, and began the trek. This was the part of the trip that made me the most nervous because I had been working so much. I didn’t have a lot of time to work out leading up to the trip. But, on we walked and we settled into a comfortable pace and it really wasn’t very difficult. The most difficult part of the day was the weather. As the rainy season approaches, and being up in the mountains, the weather changed quite a bit. We put our rain jackets on; and a few minutes later we took them off and tied them around our waist. But, if the worst part of the day was struggling to find a happy medium with the weather, it was a really good day!
Again, we enjoyed ourselves; after all, we were in Peru! We gave stickers and other items to children from local houses that came out to greet us. As dusk was beginning to fall, we spotted our campsites. Our horseman, with the string of packhorses had gone ahead and set up our camp and it was an extremely welcome sight. Two of the horses and one horseman travelled with us for emergency purposes, one as a saddle horse and the other carrying supplies. No one ever used them though.
Our campsite was in a schoolyard. School was on break, so we had the place to ourselves. A lot of the schools in this area lack teachers, and children don’t go. This school has a teacher, but once students reach 8th grade, they have to go to a city to finish school. A lot of families are unable to do this so many of the people in this area only have an 8th grade education. Mayra and Zac told us that there were about 500 people living in this area and that 300 of them were children.
After yet another wonderful meal prepared by our chefs we headed to our tents to prepare for the tough hike ahead of us on day two.