Uchuycosco, Peru, May 2000
Terraces, 57KB

Near the trailhead, we visited the village of Chinchero. There are many ancient terraces visible in these pictures. There is also a stair cut into the large rock in the foreground. We were told the green crop in the foreground is fava beans.
Fava beans, 77KB

Panorama of unnamed pass, 160KB

Here's a view just beyond the pass (and out of the wind) The trail down from the pass is visible to the left. In the foreground is our tourguide, Dante, loading his ancient Leica. In the background is snow on the mountains. (Yes, snow. In a tropical country!) The topo map, which we bought from the government office in Lima, does not seem to have a name for this pass. The nearest feature is a hill (cerro) named Huallata Huachana.
Fuzzy, 64KB

There are a few herds of llamas, alpacas, and sheep in the mountains. Besides us, the only other people on the trail were a handful of shepherds.
Uchuycosco, 67KB

The hike out to here starts in Tauca, and ends in Lamay. Just north of the ruins is a tiny bit of flat land with some dwellings called Sauce Pampa. Hiram Bingham had this to say about Peruvian pampas:

"It was almost dark when we came to a little sandy plain two or three acres in extent, which in this land of steep mountains is called a pampa! Were the dwellers on the pampas of Argentina - where a railroad can go for 250 miles in a straight line, to see this little bit of flood-plain called Mandor Pampa, they would think some one had been joking or else grossly misusing a word which means to them illimitable space with not a hill in sight."
Lamay, 51KB

Looking down a set of steep switchbacks into the Urubamba valley. Somewhere down there is Lamay. As we were coming down, we saw some children heading up the trail. They were coming from school down in the valley, to home up in the pampa. Imagine hiking the swithcbacks to the top of Yosemite Falls everyday, just to go to school!

Bingham had considerably more excitement on the trail than we did:

"The path descended the wall of the canyon by means of short turns, each twenty feet long. At one end of each turn was a precipice while at the other end was a chasm, down which plunged a small cataract which had a clear fall of 700 feet. Half way down the path my mule started trembling and I had to dismount, to find that in the dark he had walked off the trail and slid down the cliff to a ledge. How to get him back was a problem. There was no way to back him up the steep hill and there was scarcely room in which to turn him around. It was such a narrow escape that when I got safely back on the trail I decided to walk the rest of the way and let the mule go first, preferring to have him fall over the precipice alone, if that were necessary. Two-thirds of the way down the descent the path crossed the narrow chasm, close to and directly in front of the little cataract. There was no bridge. To be sure, the waterfall was only about three feet wide, but in the darkness I could not see the other side of the chasm. I did not dare jump alone, so I remounted my mule, held my breath, and gave him both spurs at once. His jump was successful."
Peru: Puerto Maldonado Cusco Urcos Uchuycosco Huilloc Machu Pichu
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