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Trekking Day 3

Red coral trees
Red coral trees
The next day I was indeed feeling slightly better, still not eating much but less congested and I had a better attitude. We hiked from 9,000 feet to 11,000 feet up to the rock quarry on the opposite side of the valley from Ollantaytambo. The quarry was where we planned to have lunch as well. Again we had about 40 minutes to relax before lunch. I staggered over to a large stone shaped in the 1500's, sat down, gulped a juice box, ate a chocolate bar, stretched out on the ground, and passed out. When I came to, it was lunch time and I was able to eat a bit more than just soup. Feeling refreshed, Juan took us to explore the quarry a bit more. We saw various stones in different states of being split, shaped, and processed. Once the stones were prepared the people would push and pull these 80 ton mammoths down the road to the edge of the mountain and push them over the edge. They would tumble to the valley floor where they would again be hauled (using human power only) across the valley to Ollantaytambo. For a long time experts believed that the Inca people had not discovered the wheel, that is until they found this quarry. Here in the rock quarry there were two! One was a rough shape and the other was finished including the hub. Next Juan pointed out a tomb that had only been discovered (and raided) about 3 years ago. He casually pointed it out and said we should look inside. As we got to the entrance our jaws dropped. There was a mummy in there! The Inca people used to position their dead in the fetal position and wrap them like mummies. This skeleton had the wrapping removed but was undamaged and in the fetal position. WOW! Inside were 5 more skulls and a pile of miscellaneous bones. It was an amazing experience and made the tough hike totally worth it!

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