The second morning came very early and I was sleeping soundly when the horsemen shook the tent.
Good morning I called out not remembering to reply back buenos dias.
Would you like coca tea?
Yes, please as I unzipped the tent and was handed two cups of hot water with coca leaves floating in it.
A little while later they came by with warm water and soap hoping to get the group moving quicker. We needed to pack our stuff, eat and be hiking by 6:20am.
It didn't take long before I started shedding my clothing. Hector, our guide, gave us multiple brief breaks and a couple snack breaks. After each break I would breath hard again and learned its just easier to keep hiking slowly than stop and get started again. I was one of the slower hikers, partly because I would stop and take pictures but also because it was hard work. I I had a mild headache and tried chewing coca leaves but my gag reflexes kicked in and I spit out the coca leaves. It's not that the leaves were completely unpleasant but having a wad of leaves in my cheek didn't sit well with me.
It took 4 hours to reach the top and the last 100 meters I was dragging myself up leaning completely on my hiking poles. There were so many people at the top. All the hikers on the trail were hanging out, chatting and many were smoking. UGH! How could they be so disrespectful and spoil the fresh, clean air for the rest of us. I wanted the mountain top to myself to enjoy the peace, quiet and FRESH air. Despite my grumpiness over the other hikers on the trail, the view was fantastic; we could see for miles. Clouds threatened to cover the mountain tops and block the view but waited until we were leaving.
|The top of the Saltankay pass|
|Diego took this picture and he almost missed the bottom row of people in the group shot|
A funny thing happens when I write a blog post, I look up dates and verify information and learn the truth. I thought Saltankay was 14,760 ft but it's actually 15,187 ft. I can't believe I hiked that high and lived to tell about it.
|On top of Ole Saltankay|