One of my most memorable experiences during my last visit to Peru was a 4 hour trek I took from the city of Ayacucho to a town called Compañia. Yes, I did have the opportunity to FINALLY go to Machu Picchu, and it is, indeed, a world wonder, but for some reason this was my favorite part of the trip. Perhaps it was the fact that we were not in a rush, or that the sun was beautifully beaming against the mountains that early morning. Whatever the reason, I’d like you to come along for the adventure!
At six in the morning we started towards the road that leads to Puente Mollepata. The view of the mountains was stunning.
We came across a family of wild pigs cradled together on what appeared to be a comfortable pile of trash. Not pictured here: the countless amount of dogs that attempted to intimidate us with their growls; Mission accomplished.
Leading the trek were American missionaries Waltz & Marylin who actually started a bible institute that teaches the Bible in Quechua. How amazing is that?! Along with us were missionaries from Brazil, Peruvian friends, American missionaries Rick & Donna, with whom I volunteered, and last, but not least, my dear sister-friend Monica. The soft white dirt/sand roads filled our sneakers, but with such amazing views that was the least of our concerns.
The lovely red fruit you see on the cactus is called “tuna” in Spanish, or prickly pear. It’s similar to a kiwi in texture and taste. Some cacti have visible parasites that appear like white chalky spots. If you grab it with your fingers and rub it, a reddish color will be revealed. The Incas actually used this as a natural dye and it is still used today!
After about 3 hours into the trek we arrived to a town with lovely colonial architecture. This was my favorite part of the experience as we entered fields with beautiful tall trees and green pastures. They were growing lettuce! We then arrived at a stream which we had to cross over on a shakey, definitely not sturdy, wooden bridge. No, it wasn’t deep. No, there wasn’t a fast, furious current that would whisk you away. No, the bridge wasn’t greatly elevated from the ground. But allow me to have my dangerous movie moment!
We ended our trek in the town of Compañia where we took a break for snacks and drinks at a local tienda. Alas, victory! Time for a group picture with the giant sign for proof. My legs were DONE. Step count for the day, about 25,000!
As always, may your day be graciously adventurous!