During my stay in Cusco, Chris went on to do Inka Trail. I found myself with 2 days off deciding to go and visit my father and my brother in Sacred Valley. They had moved to a new place, beautiful, just outside of Urubamba. I used to live nearby, in Yucay, for a year.  Back then I always heard of La Cruz mountain, my friends used to go there. I never did,  whatever the reason. My dad’s house is right next to La Cruz mountain.

Chicon glacier on the back

My back was really bad so I was dubious if I was gonna go or not.  On Saturday we decided to climb. I went, back hurting and all. The path is beautiful. We saw 2 Tinamous, Andean Tinamou most likely, and also Sparkling Violet Ear, very common humming bird of scrubby hills in the Andes.

I didn’t take time but we must have done it in 45 minutes. Up there the scenery was unbelievable: We had 2 rainbows above our heads exactly at the moment as a storm was on its way to Cusco, passing right next to us. There was also the moon and all the chiaroscuro that the clouds, the rain, that lovely 5pm sunlight and the rainbows produced, making it look as if we were inside a bubble of light surrounded by a dark universe. And Chicon glacier overlooking all from its almost 6 thousand meters.

Double rainbow over Sacred Valley

One thing I love of sacred Valley is that there are so many places like this that are enchanting. Most people don’t realize this as they quickly pass by. But those who do are touched by it. It’s the presence of the mountains I think. How were these giants not going to be revered when they have such an absolute presence over the people who live at their skirts? The Apus is how the quechua speakers call the mountains. Apu means “grand” or “mister”. They are the givers of rains, thunder, flowing ravines that nurture the crops. But they are as human as us, so they also bring floods, rockspills, etc. This is the reason why people pay homage to the mountains. If one sees carefully over the scenery of Sacred Valley one will find many small colorful chapels on the hills. These are now for patrons or catholic crosses, in the past those were the spots where “payment” or homage was given to mountains or Apus. Still today, once a year, people climb up there and they clean and wash the chapels and pay their tributes to the mountains, no matter that there they see a catholic image, that is not the point. How not to adore mountains?

Chicon glacier from the Maras plains (photo by Jose F. Orihuela)

And why climb them anyway? Well, I believe it was Mr. Hillary, the famous explorer and climber who answered that question: “Because they are there”. They are there, they definitely and absolutely are.

I had a great time with my family and the double rainbow we saw was so beautiful, like a gift from nature. And this I know it may sound too romantic for some people, but only one who has climbed a mountain, with pain or enjoyment, and has made it to the top feeling on top of the world yet being so  little and insignificant to the whole universe of giants out there, only that person can be humble enough to realize the gifts, the very simple gifts that nature gives to us. Why can’t we just give back?

My family takin' cover from the rain


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Filed under Birdwatching, Peru, Trekking

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