Rainbow settled in the ground, Rainbow Mountains
You know, there are seven colors that form in the sky after the rain and make everyone who sees them smile and happy, think of those colors embedded in the ground. Yes, I'm talking about the Rainbow Mountains in Peru. It is a colorful mountain formed by the combination of seven different minerals as a result of tectonic fractures. Three hours from Cusco. The roads are mountainous, winding, cliffs everywhere. I guess I don't need to tell you the beauty of the scenery.
The service we are in belongs to the tour we have purchased. The easiest and most preferred way to go to the Rainbow Mountains is to buy a tour. So we did. We researched the prices the day before, and got the best one. They asked where we were staying, we said, they said be at the door at 04:00 in the morning, we did. A woman came, we followed her, and we went to the square to gather the people included in the tour. The shuttle that would take us up the mountain was waiting there. By mountain, I mean only its entrance, not its peak. Vehicles are not allowed to go any further.
The next 8 km on foot or by horse. We didn't even think about riding a horse, we walked. If you go, don't get on the horse either. Walk. Press that ground, feel the energy there. You will get tired more quickly than usual, stop and rest. Your cheek is already full of coca leaves. There are those who give cologne every step of the way, go get one of those colognes, smell it, it's good. Low oxygen head is a nice thing. It turns out how much unnecessary oxygen we consume in city life. It is very pleasant to observe the changes that occur as you ascend to the heights. Don't miss this opportunity. If you ride a horse, it can escape. The decrease in oxygen, the cooling of the air and the snowfall on the summit accompanied by blizzard. We were walking around in Cusco in a thin coat. Now sweaters, caps.
I'm going back. To the beginning of the journey. We passed over mountains and cliffs and finally arrived at a village. That is, not inside the village, but on the edge. Here we will have breakfast somewhere. Obviously, high altitude requires high energy. They are putting everything in front of us to achieve this. First popcorn. Eggs, honey, jams, bananas… Lots of coca tea. Lots of other foods that I can't remember right now. They say eat, we will go to 4600 meters, you need it. That's how much the tour takes. It is your choice to go up to 5 thousand. The most challenging is the last 400 meters. But it's worth it, precise information.
Anyway, back to our topic. We had our over-energized breakfast, stuffed some coca leaves in our pockets, and got on the bus to continue on the road. The guide distributed coca leaves to everyone and told us how to use it. What we took for breakfast left us with snow. We'll use them later if needed. These leaves are not chewed. It is placed on the side of the cheek and it stays there. By the way, the tour guide gave information along the way. About the mountain, about the Incas, about coffee… After the first “Does anyone know Spanish?” she asked, we were just three. He came to us and spoke in English. He talked about women with flowered hats on their heads. They are widowed. “Only widows wear flower hats,” he said. He talked about the minerals that make up the colors. He said that the source of the yellow color is potassium. I just remember this. If I remember correctly. Might as well have said magnesium.
After the stories told by the guide, the beauty of the road, the excitement of going up to 5 thousand, we come to the end of the place where we go by shuttle service. The shuttle stops in a wide area, we get off. They give baton. “The road is difficult, it is not possible without a baton,” they say. A little explanation is given in Spanish. Then they come and tell us their English. I don't remember what they said. Maybe I haven't heard much. We start walking. It's a bit crowded as it's the weekend. Go on a weekday if possible. Those who walk extremely slowly, those who want to reach their goal as soon as possible, those who pretend to not have difficulty even though they are struggling… The road almost reflects everyone's character. “I am not really tired. Only my legs hurt, I stop from it,” our friend gasps.
There are occasional stalls along the way. Biscuits, cola, coca tea etc. they are selling. At 4600 meters, alpaca meat is added to this. I think it smells bad. We take a cup of tea, sit on a stone and watch the rainbow settled on the ground. It is not clear as the weather is cloudy. After resting for a while, we take our poles and climb 5,000. Nothing appears. The clouds have come and settled at the top again. Fog everywhere. Snowflakes hit our faces, we're cold, but we don't care. If I had something thick on me, I would have stayed there for hours, but it wasn't there. Moreover, we have to be at the service at a certain time. We are forced to embark on the descent path. This time I watch the changes as they descend. The snow gives way to rain, then the sun comes out. Oxygen is rising, steps are accelerating. Tired and rest disappear completely. My friends dive into the conversation, I run away from them. Because at that moment I just want to listen to the sound of nature.