Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On the Trail of the Inca

Well, we are back in Cusco, after an unforgettable adventure.  Two days ago, we ended an amazing trek through southern Peru.  As we marched through the Cusco district of Peru, we traveled the paths of the ancient Inca.   We visited beautiful ruins, pushed through many rigorous trekking days, experienced the wonder of the Andes, but sadly ended the trek with heart break.

Kichwa Dancers on the Road
Ancient Inca Trail

During the trek, we looked upon three Kichwa ruins, all of which took our breath away.  The first of these was Rosaspata.  This was the last retreat of Manco Inca and his dying population during the Spanish invasion.  These ruins gave us our first peak into the ancient world of the Kichwa.  One of the coolest parts of the visit for me was that no one else was there.  I felt like a Kichwa myself walking through this prehistoric palace.  This was a smaller ruin and home to sacred Kichwas and sometimes the Inca.  We wandered through room after room and, for the first time, I discovered the magical energy of the Kichwa still alive hundreds of years later.

The second mind blowing ruin we came across on our trek was Choquequirao.  This is said to be an ancient Kichwa city three times bigger than Machupicchu.  The only hitch is that only one third of the town has been excavated.  This one third was still amazing in size.  However, as I wandered the houses of Choquequirao, I did not feel the same energy as at Rosaspata.  Somehow, the Kichwa temple and palace at Rosaspata produced a more predominate vibe than the vast mountain town of Choquequirao.  I was amazed while I explored Rosaspata that I felt the holiness of the temple now in ruins.  In a sense, the Kichwas had more impressive technology than we have today.  Instead of computers, cars, and weapons, they had the power to make things come alive with energy.

Kichwa Aquaduct

Finally, on the last day of our trek, we visited the renowned Machupicchu.  This was a spiritual retreat for the Inca and some other special priests and Kichwas.  Here, we saw our first tourists and witnessed a mental battle in action.  The energy from this vast temple and palace fought hard against the tiring and closed minded energy of the tourists around us.  We found the ruins somewhat more impressive than Choquequirao or Rosaspata, but the tourists were hard to bear.  I was a little underwhelmed, but still enjoyed one of the wonders of the world.

In order to explore Kichwa ruins, we had to go where the Kichwa travelled.  Many days on the trek, I felt so worked that I wanted to just sit down and collapse into the bushes.  Nonetheless, I pushed on and made it through the trek.  For days, we climbed up for hours on end before pushing down the other side of the many passes.  Our highest pass was located at 4,721 meters.  Despite the strenuous physical requirements of the trek, I found myself at times enjoying the pain.  As I walked, I wondered what the crazy TCR family will think of next!

Ancient Inca Trail and Bridge

Along the trek, we experienced the pure beauty of the Peruvian Andes.   Every morning, the golden rays of sun singed the tops of the high mountain peaks around us.  Water droplets of glimmering dew fell from bright blossoming wild flowers.  We walked through isolated valleys, passing no one except mules and the occasional caballero.  We visited towns untouched by tourists with locals still speaking the traditional Kichwa language.   We crossed precarious wooden bridges over turbulent rapids.  Sadly, everything good must end and we were soon faced with a disturbing sight.

On our last day of trekking, our hearts sank at the sound of bulldozers and destruction.  As we turned the corner, we saw a dirt road being pushed up the valley and could not believe our eyes.  Jose, our guide, told us this road was going to the small and placid village of Yanama where we had stayed the night before.  No tourists inhabited this traditional community.  The local people of Yanama want this road so that they may buy cars and access other towns and a hospital more easily.  The banks have promised to give the people loans.  Some people will also mortgage their farms.  Of course, they won’t have money to pay off these loans, or maintain their cars, and many will loose their land.  People with money will move into Yanama and with their new property they will build a lodge and the sweet isolated town will be destroyed.  This was sad for all of us to see and the three of us ended out trek with a melancholy air in our hearts. 

The trek is over and we have seen some amazing things.  I really enjoyed seeing the ruins and the mountain passes.  The hiking was a little hard for me, but I conquered the passes.  We have ten more days until our homecoming, and not only this trek but the entire adventure will be over.

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic! 


  1. Fabulous post, fabulous photos. I'm totally blown away. Really, really impressive.

  2. OMG!!!! Your pictures are amazing!!!! When you get home, let's chat about your experiences in Peru. I would also like to chat with you about perhaps using some of your pics in my upcoming book. You are a rockstar!!!!
    Seth (and Adam)

    1. Hi Dad and Daddy! Thanks A lot! You Welcome to use some of my photos in you book! What is the book going to be about? Hope things are going well with you two!

      Love your son,

  3. Rohan,
    Your photos and travel log make David and me want to visit Peru and travel the route that you, your Mom and Dad did . . . kudos to you for this exemplary photo journey.

  4. Hi Rohan - Wow is all I can say! Those photos are the best yet!! And the writing as well. Your teachers don't know what they have in store for them when you enter their classes in the fall! Great job! xoxo Grandmalish