30-Jun-2011 -- First day – Sunday, 26.06.2011:
I took the local bus from Cuzco to Tinki (3 hours). In Tinki “town” I got my last hot supper (chicken) and a warm and clean bed.
Second day – Monday, 27.06.2011:
A lovely morning – fresh air, clear sky, cold but sunny!
At 7:00 a.m. I started to walk from the small village of Tinki (3800m) – head to Nevado Ausangate (6384m). Ausangate is a mountain of the Cordillera Vilcanota - situated around 100 kilometers southeast of Cusco. This excellent trekking country is offering everything you could want: spectacular mountain scenery, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, turquoise lakes, glaciers, herds of alpacas, picturesque villages and traditionally dressed indigenous people. The area has 4 major geological features, the Andean uplift formed by Granites, the hanging glaciers and glacier erotional valleys, the Permian formation with its singular colors, reds, ocre, turquoise and the Cretaceous, lime stone forests.
Walking around the massif of Ausangate in counter clockwise rotation, at lunch time I arrived to Upis (4400m). After a short break, I had to hike the first pass, Abra Arapa (4850m); then continuing down the valley to the camp at the turquoise Lake Jatun Puqa Q'ocha. I put my tent with the last shafts of sunlight, before I prepared myself for a long, cold night. In the afternoon and at night you can hear the eerie sound of ice breaking away from a nearby glacier and falling into the water.
Third day – Tuesday, 28.06.2011:
Before the next pass, Abra Apuchata (4900m) I climbed down a long, green valley – full of livestock. In the early afternoon I reached the small village of Chillca! After rest and revitalize, I followed the dusty road upstream (Rio Janamayo) – until the first and only bridge across this powerful and clear river. It was still very warm and calm, so I took a refreshing bath in the cold water.
Fourth day – Wednesday, 29.06.2011:
I passed a nice morning – climbing up a 5000m high pass and enjoying the amazing landscape and the diverse fauna around there: the twittering of the Andean Flicker (Colaptes rupicola), warning his mate; white spotted marshes full of the monogamic Andean Goose, (Chloephaga melanoptera); and up to the highest peaks numerous herds of alpacas (Vicugna pacos).
On the other side of the pass, I get a nasty surprise: the landscape was changing from mountains and valleys to the high and open plateau of the altiplano. To make matters worse, weather was changing dramatically: hard wind has sprung up, temperatures were dropping down and the sky was turning into dark. I hurried up and reached Laguna Sibinacocha (4950m) on sunset and with light snowfall. I was surprised to see that Laguna Sibinacocha is an impounding reservoir for the hydro-electric power station in Machu Picchu – hundreds of kilometres down from here. With the little electricity they produce on location they power a small camp for maintenance. Julian, one of three workers there, was my hero (and saviour) of the day. He invited me to sleep in one of the camps houses – e.g. without any wind and with heater. What a lovely and warm night at 5000m above sea level!
Fifth day – Thursday, 30.06.2011:
The world was dressed in white! Fresh and new snow decorated all areas around us!
At the first time I turned on my GPS (GARMIN geko 301) to see how far it was to the confluence: 8,8km left. In about two hours I walked from the camp to the confluence, all alone, only observed by some vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna), wild relatives of the domesticated alpacas. At 14°S 71°W I took all necessary dates and photos and left a huaca. (In Quechua a huaca is an object that represents something revered, typically a monument of some kind. The term huaca can refer to natural locations, such as immense rocks. Some huacas have been associated with veneration and ritual.)
Three hours afterwards, I was driving back to civilization – a small truck was taking me back to Sicuani. On its loading area I was sitting around four hours - together with sheeps and alpacas. From Sicuani I get a bus to Cuzco arriving at 8:00 p.m.