13:22.33S 72:49.87W She be coming round the mountain when she comes!

Sat 7 May 2016 06:21
About 16000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, people from China, Mongolia and Japan migrated east across the Pacific to the west coast of the Americas. Many stayed on the coast but others fled from the coastal earthquakes and tsunamis to the Andes and the jungle beyond.

The pre incas developed over numerous civilisations, each taking the best from the age before. To transport goods and foodstuffs between the coastal region and the Andes and the Andes  and the jungle they used runners, each crossing his own terrain, that he was familiar with to meet the next runner in say the Andean region. Tambos or resting places were set up like the hostels and inns that we have, and they are still there.

The Incas  sometimes turned them into temples, watchtowers or forts, and now they are used by trekkers, farmers and town dwellers as tambos again for rest and relaxation, a perfect cycle.

At one point we looked down on some fine Inc ruins, perfect walls, neat terraces and still running waterways with crystal clear water.

We were in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, never found by the Spanish in their ill fated search for El Dorado because they were led up an alternative route by the clever natives.

The Incas, who thrived from 900AD to 1535AD, practised genetic engineering on their plants to improve size and flavour so they could maximise the space on their agricultural terraces. They would then send the plants to farmers in the jungle to produce crops in the warm, wet climate. The exchange of skills and goods between the regions was extensive.  

We were soaking up all these incredible facts from Roger as we looked down upon pristine, well cared for inca habitations. Looking above us we watched a condor soaring and gliding in the thermals, the nearest we would get to seeing one.

More ups and downs and we came to a pretty lake, nestled between mountain ridges and anointed with a froth of low cloud. As we sucked hard sweets we could just see a family of white tailed deer, slowly grazing their way around the shore towards us.

I was much relieved to have many breaks that day as my legs were reluctant to do what was needed of them. I just had to listen to them and not overdo the exercise. Consequently I was the tail end Charlie and would find concerned faces looking my way as I came slowly around the mountains with Elvis as my companion , to the waiting group. "What's wrong Barb?" Australian Carmen asked, and I had to reply that I honestly didn't know.

Our third camp was lower down, dryer, warmer and we had a musical accompaniment of cicadas to lull us to sleep.