Friday, March 30, 2012

Into the Jungle

The past week has been a fairly productive one photo wise. What's that you say? 30 photos is not all that many? Well, to make them their prettiest there is a fair amount of time dedicated to each photo to get it ready for the world to see. On to a few of them. Remember, click on any of the images to be taken to the full gallery on my website.

Mountain Peaks

Mountain Peaks poking out of the clouds.

Descending down from Dead Woman's Pass

This is the trail headed down from the highest point of our hike, Dead Woman's Pass, which is at 13,800 feet. That is pretty flippin high, it gets a little tough to breath up there. I was very thankful to be on the downward slope of the pass, the hike up was long and difficult. Unfortunately for us, when we reached the top the rain started, and stayed with us pretty much the rest of the afternoon. The path was mostly rock stairs, which got rather slippery when wet, and at times, the water was flowing down the trail like a small waterfall. We all went fairly slow and made sure to choose each step carefully with hopes of avoiding a wipeout. The porters on the other hand ran down the wet stairs, with massive packs, and many in sandals. It was impressive to say the least, I think had I tried that I would have had a long painful journey down the mountain on my backside.

Moss and fungi covered bridge along the Inca Trail

After our hike down from nearly 14,000 feet we had lunch in a valley at 11,700 feet. After lunch we trudged back out in the rain to climb back up to a little over 13,000 feet. On our way down from the second pass, the vegetation and environment continued its ever changing ways. This indeed is the start of the Amazon Rainforest, and it did live up to its name. But even the rain could not quell the beauty of the place. The moss covered trees, the lush green ferns, running water, just an incredible environment to walk through. This was one of the many small wooden bridges spanning gaps in the trail.

Into the Jungle

This was a neat part of the trail which felt as if were descending right into the heart of the jungle.

Intipata Ruins

The Intipata Ruins were quite impressive. This view does not show the rows and rows of terraces which are just up the path, but it does show the incredible view. This was the third day of our hike, nearing our campsite for the evening.

There are more photos up on the site, so click on any image to view more. I'm saving some already up there for the next post, where I will talk a bit about what is probably my favorite place of the entire trip (and its not Macchu Pichu).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Let the flow of photos begin

I am now trying to get into the full swing of editing and retouching photos from the trip. I will be adding them to my Peru Travel gallery as I complete them. Eventually after getting through the stills I want retouched I plan on throwing together a little film from clips taken with the GoPro. The GoPro was a great little addition to have along on the trip, a lot of fun and easy to take everywhere with you.

Here are a few photos which have made it up onto the website already.

I hope to get a few new photos up every day, so check the gallery often for new additions.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Tonight is the last night in Peru, we are ending the trip where it began the first morning, at cafe Zeta. Not only is the food good, they have a good wifi hotspot. We have not had Internet at the apartment for the past couple days, this is why there has been a lack of updates.

Last night we ate at one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, Astrid Y Gaston. We had an 11 course meal which lasted over 3 hours. The dishes were absolutely amazing, definitely some of the best food I have eaten in my entire life. We all left feeling fat and happy, our wallets lighter, but our hearts and stomachs fully satisfied.

One of the dishes, guinea pig in Chinese disguise. Absolutely fantastic. (my apologies for bringing up memories of childhood pets)

One of the desert dishes, sorbet with mango and coconut tapioca. Delicious.

The dinner was a fantastic experience, and we were fortunate to have two of our friends from the hike join us for the meal.

Tonight we had the best sunset of the trip, the sky was pretty clear and the colors were fantastic. I shot a few time lapses and we enjoyed the sunset from the rooftop terrace while drinking wine.

Tomorrow morning we head to the airport and say goodbye to Peru. It was an unforgettable time, I will share more photos as I go through them and actually have consistent Internet access. For now, I'm going to enjoy my last meal here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Diagonal,Lima District,Peru

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jungle Stank

The Inca Trail hike was an incredible experience. The hike was probably the most challenging physical feat I have ever undertaken. 26 miles over 4 days does not sound all that intimidating, but couple that with altitudes up to 13,800 feet, and it really becomes a challenge. Putting the physical demands aside, the hike offered stunning views and took us through some of the most scenic and beautiful places I have ever seen. Mother nature decided that we needed a healthy dose of rain throughout the hike, but even with the rain and clouds blocking what I'm sure were fantastic views, the hike was still far beyond my expectations.

A map of the path to Machu Pichu

A few photos as a little preview. It has been a bit overwhelming coming back and loading several days worth of shooting and having to sift through all of the images and videos. I'll post more as I go through, so please be patient.

We stopped for breakfast in a small town on our way to the hike. A couple rooftops with the beautifully lit mountain side behind them.

One of several waterfalls we saw along the trail.

A llama at Machu Pichu

After four days of trekking we all arrived to Macchu Pichu and many of us felt rather
bitter towards all the tourists who had arrived to by bus to view the ruins. The place was crawling with tourists smelling of soap and shampoo, complaining about how many stairs they had to climb. We all had trekked for 4 days to arrive here, no one had showered, and we were all ripe with jungle stank. Somehow we all felt like all these people had not earned this, that the trekkers should have first go at the site, and it should not open up to the other tourists till later in the morning. Our irritability may have had something to do with being up since 3am that morning, but I know that many of us felt it. In the end, Machu Pichu is indeed an amazing place, however, I think most of us agree it was the journey to get there that we will most remember. Walking as a small group through the mountains, visiting other ruin sites and having the place to ourselves, not tripping over throngs of tourists, those are the memories which will stick with us the most. This trip is further evidence that most things in life are about the journey, not the end.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It has been a very busy couple days. Yesterday we arose at 5am to fly to Cusco. We arrived at Cusco airport and could almost immediately feel the effects of the altitude. Shortness of breath, walking up an airport ramp was unusually tiresome. We arrived at our hotel, Don Bosco, which is fantastic, a very unique place.

Cusco is a beautiful city. We spent yesterday and today exploring and getting ourselves acclimated to the altitude. We are feeling better today than yesterday, though still not 100%. Tomorrow morning the long Inca Trail hike starts...we shall see how that goes. It is one of the rare times I regret my path of photography. My camera gear alone weighs more than my friends entire packs.

Internet has been a bit slow, and I have not had much computer time. Here are a few photos from the past couple days. Forgive me since I will be silent again for 4 days while I am on the hike. Hopefully once back in Lima I will have plenty of time to go through and post more photos.

Scott drinking matte de coca

Church in the main square

Women in a market in Cusco

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Adios Ales

The adventure begins. We are sitting at O'Hare enjoying a massively overpriced beer, awaiting our flight to LA, then on to Lima. Hopefully more interesting post will be made once we actually do something notable.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Upper Level T3 St,Chicago,United States