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South America 2016: Day 10 (Peru 10): Dec 01

Wake up… My headache is gone! Yay. But as always, tough to get up. Especially when you’re in a tent and it’s snowing outside… Lol

We’re woken with coca tea and given some time to get up and get breakfast. Oh so cold. Breakfast and go. We trek out at around 4:45am, aiming to be the first group at rainbow mountain. Even the alpacas were cold, all fluffy, they are huddled together on the ground, only getting up to avoid us and our horses, leaving behind alpaca shapes in the snow. 

We walk a little further then get on the horses. It’s fairly cold out so riding the horses makes it a little colder as we’re not using our muscles, but… I don’t wanna walk :P. If I didn’t mention it before, only Gayaanan and I got horses. Pat walked the whole way like a crazy person, with our guide. It’s still snowing. 

Trekking, on and off horses, we make it to a small lagoon where it looks warmer as there isn’t any snow. The sun is coming out now as well. Gayaanan sees something like a monkey and goes off the trail and into the rocks….. Chinchillas! Pat, Noah, and the horses are all resting by the lake while waiting for Gayaanan and leave as soon as he’s close, we don’t have much more time to waste. Back on the horses. 

We come to another lake and take some more pictures. We’re getting closer to our destination… But about 15 minutes later, as we’re taking a selfie with Noah, Gayaanan realizes something horrible. He’s lost his wallet. Dun dun dun… At this point, we have no idea when or where it could have been lost. In the tent? Sleeping bag? Along the made up trails? He was resigned to it. For now. Gotta keep going. 

We continue on. Up another steep hill, the horses gone off on another path, there it is. The Rainbow Mountain. All foggy and covered. But that’s okay, one of two minutes later, it’s clear. Such is the weather up in the Peruvian mountains. Winicunca, colorful hill, is a naked mountain made up of minerals. Iron, lead, sulfur, copper, layered over and over each other. The hill reveals each layer somehow and shows each color deposit – it’s obvious from a side view. The 360 view is amazing. 

Soon after, another group of three show up at the bottom of the hill (we’re still at the top, opposite the rainbow). We take more pictures, etc, and we start to head down as they come up. As soon as we get to the bottom, the sun starts to shine again. Oh well, I’m fine without. 

We decide to continue exploring and go around the rainbow mountain to look behind it. There is a trail, so it’s not totally crazy. But damn, uphills are tough, going my own slow pace. It’s cool to pass along the side of the mountain and watch the rocks underfoot, each couple meters there’s a new color. Eventually getting to the pass, it’s mostly a red and green view and just as nice, with only the four of us. We spot a couple of picunas and take pictures of everything. To the right, there’s a red mountain that looks like it has green stripes, a waterfall of minerals, we have dubbed it “Zebra Mountain”. Took some time to just sit and enjoy. 

Making our way back, collecting rocks along the way, we notice the influx of tourists on the hill. We’re lucky that we had the opportunity to be the first group there that morning. We trekked through the snow for it! 

After a small break at Rainbow mountain with the groups of tourists, we head on down the way they came. The ground is much more traveled and harder on our feet. Jump on our horses and off we go. A long stretch that the horses were not led, where we could ride them on our own as long as we didn’t go too fast and scare the guides :P… After a while of flats, some rocks, we make it back to our starting point. Lunchtime. 

Got into the van, checked the sleeping bags, no luck, no wallet. Three hours to our hotel back in Cusco. 

We are beat. We settle back in and then we look through our photos, to help pinpoint the time and location in which he lost his wallet, there’s a chance… I found a last seen picture at a certain lake, and Patrick found a picture in which Gayaanan noticed it was missing. Only about a 30 minute window. He sends that off to our tour guide, who then says he will go out there tomorrow, on his 26th birthday, to take a look! 

Birthdays were a quick and interesting topic. In Peru, you are born at 0 years then on New Years, you gain 1 year. Similar to Koreans? I’m confused. 

Anyways. We’re so tired. Since this hotel is basically a lodge with a kitchen, and they provided us with “breakfast”, Gayaanan made us eggs and whatever else he could find, for dinner. Yay.

Flying out tomorrow to La Paz. 5:30 taxi. 

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