Peru, day 5

We were woken at 5am with coca tea in the tents and breakfast was served at 5:30.  I was not feeling well and couldn't keep any food down.  This was particularly bad timing considering it would be the hardest day of hiking.  I had some tea and hoped I'd be OK.

 Even at the very beginning of the hike, my feet felt like lead.  I had to will myself to move each leg.  It was exhausting.  Luckily, the scenery was incredibly motivating!
 Salkantay was visible the whole time!

 This is when we got to some tricky switch-backs.  You can see people hiking up them.  I was building up my courage/strength
 Stopped for a photo-op...smiling though I'm exhausted

Here's a good view of the switch-backs, looking down on them.
 After a couple hours, we reached a lagoon where we'd take a small break.  Here I scarfed down some energy bars I'd brought.

 It was incredible!

 Amping up for the rest of the hike to the top of the pass

 After about 4 hours of grueling hiking, we made it!

 We were very lucky that it was clear enough to see the peak!  It even snowed a bit while we were there.

 We made it!!

 Our guide gave us a brief history lesson about Salkantay
 I've never seen such a beautiful mountain before.  Boy was it cold, too!

We hung out here for about 20 minutes before beginning to head down, into the high jungle.

But first, a group picture!

 The scenery of the hike down into the valley rapidly changed
 Everything was more green and the clouds started to roll in

 When we started to enter the "high jungle", it cleared up a bit
This is where we stopped for lunch
 It was also a guinea pig farm!

 Lunch shack

 Getting much more green!
 Around 4pm and after lots of downhill hiking, we reached our next camp. 

The horses decided to make themselves comfortable in our camp and check out our tents.  Popcorn, hot chocolate, and tea were waiting for us again at camp!  All of us were a bit concerned as to why the porters were spending so much time anchoring our tents and the rain covers...we would soon find out!