International Hiking

Three Days in One: Salkantay to Andenes Camp

Back in 2007, my husband and I took our first real adventure to Peru where we visited the Amazon Jungle and hiked to Machu Picchu. This is a series of post I've been writing about since I started this blog.  The first post on this particular day can be found at: The Savage Mountain, Nevado Salkantay.

Getting ready to come down Salkantay!
Tuesday, October 17, 2007
We started heading down Nevado Salkantay and it was cold, rainy, windy and muddy but it was much better than hiking up the mountain!  I was very glad to have some energy back and could hike again.  I learned a very good lesson on my way down the mountain to never buy cheap gear! Half way down the mountain my cheap poncho broke....I tried  to fix it but I just got wet.  Never again will I buy cheap gear.  I also wished I had a Balaclava because I had to hold up my scarf around my face to protect my face against the freezing cold wind the entire trek down.

This was the longest portion of the trek in my memory, my zombie trek.  I was cold, wet, hungry and I felt super disconnected I was just walking because I had no choice.  Sit down and rest in the pouring rain or just keep hiking, I chose the latter.  The energy that I felt early was gone, probably because I had barely eaten anything and I started singing to motivate myself to keep walking.  Once we got off the actual mountain and were hiking on flat ground I just wanted to be in our lunch tent!  I don't remember who else was walking with us except Jesse (my husband) and Edwin (one of our guides) but it was foggy, raining so we couldn't see too far ahead of us.  I kept asking Edwin, "How much longer?" and he would say 15 minutes, an hour or so later we finally saw the red tent in the distances and we made it.

We ate our delicious lunch in the pouring rain in a slowly forming swamp, we all sat there talked, recovered from the mountain we just came down.  The guides told me I looked like the women from Puno because my cheeks and nose were so red but after a few days had gone by we realized my nose was burned from the freezing wind.

Rosy Nose and Cheeks!

Jesse made me a make shift poncho out of a garbage bag which of course I wore for about two hours and it never  A group member later remembered she had an extra poncho that she let me borrow for the rest of the trek.  The rest of the afternoon we walked through a beautiful green valley as the rain slowly let up as the sun came out.

Garbage Girl....
Everyone felt good and was in good spirits when we made camp, except the Australian who became sick at the top of Salkantay, he ended up riding the horse all the way to camp.  I felt really bad for him because he really wanted to hike but he couldn't stop throwing up and just looked awful.  I was in his situation the day before so I knew what he was feeling.

Beautiful valleys

Goodbye Salkantay....

Andenes Camp
This day felt like it was three days in one! First getting to the pass at Salakantay, making it down the mountain to our lunch tent, and then walking through the green valley to our second camp at Andenes.  Even though it was a very tiring day, this was one of my favorite days because of the changing scenery from the rocky pass to the green lush valleys.

Related Posts and Links:

  1. Chasqui Mom: Peru Posts
  2. The Savage Mountain, Nevado Salkantay.

Outdoor Fathers Series: "The Enlightening Powers of Darkness" by Michael Byrd

In honor of Father's Day coming up on Sunday, June 16th, I will be featuring three outdoor father's favorite experiences with their children.  First up! Michael Byrd is a devoted husband, fun father of four kids, avid hiker, future novelist, excellent cook and amateur photographer, Michael feels lucky to live in the shadow of the Nantahala Mountains in western North Carolina. With literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails in his backyard, Michael is doing his best to explore each one of them. You can keep up with his progress at
Posted on December 17, 2012

It’s not every day I get invited on a night hike. And as much as that sounds like a simple statement, it’s actually a veiled request for more invitations – hint, hint.

I know. It’s not very subtle, but night hikes are fun. In fact, in my opinion, which is what you’re going to get since this is my blog, they’re the second most fun thing you can do at night.

What makes this night hike so special? Glad you asked. It was my oldest daughter’s idea.

Photo by Rob Gasbarro
She’s my outdoorsy kid. Well, all my kids will go outdoors and on hikes – when I ask, but my oldest daughter will ask me to go on hikes. It’s nice. She loves hiking and being in the woods. And I love seeing her excitement.

So, last week, she came to me and asked me to go along with her on the Outdoor 76 Night Hike. She read about it on Facebook. I didn’t have to think about it. Of course, I would go.

I’ll admit, though, I was a little surprised that she was interested in a “night” hike. This is the girl who won’t take the dog out after sunset even with all the outside lights on. Or walk into the dark garage. It’s a big step and I was absolutely not going to let slip by.

But I wondered what could have motivated her enough to hike in the dark?

You know, the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was more to this invitation than just a chance to hike at night. It’s possible she knew her brothers and sister would never consider doing a night hike and it would give her some individual, quality time with Daddy.

This isn’t unique to her. They all do it. I’m just grateful they think I’m still cool enough to hang out with.

Anyway, I asked her to gather all the details and we carved our plans in stone. This date was not going to be broken. So, Friday night, December 14th, we were hiking to the top of Silers Bald in the Nantahala Mountain Range – not to be confused with Silers Bald in the Smokies, although it is the same family.

Reservations were required, so my daughter made sure I was the first one to call. All that was left was hammering out the details. (You can see our Fourteen Essentials for a Night Hike here.)

We made a trip to Outdoor 76, our local, community oriented outfitter, so she could pick out her very own headlamp. It was an event. You would have thought she was picking out a prom dress – or, at least, how I imagine other 16 year old girls are about picking out prom dresses.

She inspected every detail and component. She tried them all on – in front of a mirror, looking at herself from every angle. She tested the lights and moving parts. She even read the packaging. And in her ever practical way, she picked the medium priced headlamp that provided the most options and output. See. Not your typical teenager.

While we were there, three of her friends, who were window shopping for clothes, saw her and came over to chat. My daughter’s not your typical girly-girl. Sure, she loves clothes, and dresses, and fashion, and being a girl, but it’s not her whole life. She also loves camping, getting dirty and following the trail less traveled.

Her friends had a hard time understanding why in the world she would want to hike…at night…in the dark…on a Friday…with a bunch of grown-ups. It didn't bother my daughter one bit.

Photo by Rob Gasbarro
She actually looked very pleased by their reaction. I could tell by her piercing blue eyes and her confident, yet gentle smile she was thinking to herself, “You silly little girls.”

Yes. The force is strong with this one.

The day finally came and it was the best hike ever. There were about 30 of us in all. Spirits were high. The temperature was great. The campfire was toasty warm. And zillions of stars were twinkling in the sky.
I’ll never forget the cool mountain air on my cheeks. I’ll never forget the view of the lights of Franklin, shining in the valley below. I’ll never forget the new friends and hiking buddies we met that night.

But there’s much more I’m taking away from that night. I knew my daughter was amazing, but the whole process of planning this trip, climbing to the top of Silers Bald, the way she was with people of all ages, the strength with which she carried herself and overcoming the dark, left an indelible image in my mind.

It was one of those rare experiences where you get a glimpse of who your child is going to be as an adult. And, I like it. She’s going to be even more amazing than I could have ever imagined.

See ya’ on the trail

Coming Up...Hiking in Peru

I won't be going on any major hikes or backpacking trips for a little while so I'm going to start blogging about my hiking experiences in Machu Picchu.  One of the seven man made wonders of the world and how going there once was not enough.  So over the next few days I will be posting about one of the most memorable trips in 2007 and in my life.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the whole trip, hiking up Mount Salkantay.

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