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Last weekend, it was time for my second trip: Humantay lake. This time we went in a van with Luis (the CEO of Conde Travel), his wife and kids, the driver and his wife and son and two other colleagues. After a three-hour-drive full of philosophical discussions about life with my colleagues (things got pretty heated for 8 a.m. conversations), we arrived in Mollepata to have breakfast. After a tasty caldo de gallina (chicken soup) at the market on the main square, we continued to drive for another hour to Soraypampa (3850 m.a.s.l.). This is the campsite for the Salkantay trek, where we saw a few groups of other travellers leave to continue their journey. Some walking, some by horse to carry their bags and camping equipment.
From Soraypampa we started walking up to the lake. Because of the slight altitude difference from Cusco, and about a 1000m difference from my previous trek to Llaqtapata, breathing was a little more difficult going up. However, the climb is not very steep, and it’s only about 1.5 hours walking, so even for an inexperienced trekker like me this is very doable. After a few minutes, it started pouring, as it often does during the Peruvian rain season, and it did not stop for the entire walk up. As I was so smart to not bring a poncho, I had to improvise with a big plastic sheet one of the others had brought, to not get completely soaked.
When we arrived at our destination, I instantly forgot about the rain; what a view! The bright blue lake at 4200 m.a.s.l. looking out on the mountains Humantay on the left and Salkantay on the right both covered in snow. During all the different Salkantay treks you pass by this lake, and I can guarantee that it’s absolutely breath-taking. It was still a bit clouded because of the rain when suddenly, something incredible happened… Luis had brought a bottle of wine, an offer for los Apus (the spirits), for entering their mountains and as a token of sharing. He poured the wine on the ground and in the lake and drank some himself and after just a few minutes; the rain stopped and the sky cleared. The view of the snowy mountains was now bright and you could see the highest peaks. It might have been a very lucky coincidence, but it felt somehow magical. In the Inca culture there is so much respect for nature, something a lot of us can learn a lot from. I also noticed several piles of rocks next to the lake, which were purposely put there. Luis explained that this is called achapeta, one of the rituals where you build a “house” of rocks, as a way of marking this spot, asking permission to be in this place and to thank the gods.
After enjoying the beautiful view for a while, we headed back to Soraypampa. The way back down was a lot easier as the weather had cleared up and we could walk down a lot faster. A little tired but satisfied we started the long drive back home. After an amazing month here in Peru, I have gotten quite used to life in Cusco. But these are the moments that really make me realize that I’m living this incredible experience on the other side of the world. The moments that make me stop and appreciate everything around me even more. I can now look back on another great trek with Conde Travel, learning a lot about the Inca culture and discovering new places. And I can’t wait to see where the next journey will take me…

Want to know more about the full day Humantay Lake hike "Click Here"

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