Hiking the Lares Trek (Peru): Vol. 3 (updated)

copy of the lares trek.main
Affiliate disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and will deliver a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase through the links presented. Meredith San Diego only recommends products and services, however, which she genuinely supports and utilizes for her travels.

I squeal in pain as the thought of seriously injuring myself this far into hiking the Lares Trek trail sets in. I try to use my hands to break the fall as my toosh smashes into the wet earth and rocks. 

Sitting on the muddy surface, I’m positive I sprained my wrist and tweaked the old injury in my knee. I’m staring at the overcast sky doubting the decision to partake in this trek with every inch of my being. I glance to my right to see that my blue water tumbler has survived another bad crash in one piece.

Two of the trekking staff witnessed the tumble and rushed over to help me up. I guess it looked as bad as it felt. I stand slowly with their assistance and hobble over to the hot water buckets to rinse my hands and face free of mud. Until I do I cannot assess if I’ve any lacerations.

Views of Machu Picchu from the perspective of my water tumbler, Blue
Big Blue has been with me through it all

Removing my day pack, I place it under the tarp with the others and eventually reach the lunch tent. Sitting, slowly, trying to avoid the side of my ass that’s surely got a bruise the length of California on it, I sip on my hot cocoa tea. 

I focus on calming my breath. You’re alive, nothing is broken other than your pride and maybe your spirit a little. But you’re alive! The voice in my head rambles.

The Aftermath of The Fall

The adrenaline of the fall begins to wear, the pain in my joints now incendiary. I sit, sullen, swollen, defeated. The group shares individual stories of spills in an attempt to make me feel better. 

I exercise my hand, stretching it open and closed to test the validity of the sprain. The last two of us have made it down the trail so the team begins lunch service. We’ve got another two hours to go today, all downhill, to base camp. My knee screams at the thought of the inevitable pressure of a downward climb.

Endless landscapes of beauty here
This little Oasis was breathtaking with the horses grazing and rolling around their backs happy to be free of gear
Meredith San Diego hiking the Lares Trek in Peru
Made it in one piece

The mud on my pants and rain poncho begins to dry and my pride attempts a revival in the safety of the lunch hut. I elect to put my muddy gloves back on before heading out — some protection from the cold for my hands is better than none.

On the way down the rain is sporadic as are the tiny rivers and waterfalls that form from the runoff. Better paced on the downhill trek, my legs are heavy as stone and hard to move. It’s been seven hours of non-stop hiking thus far and it’ll be closer to ten by the time we reach the camp.

Life in Base Camp

We are greeted in camp by the sweetest puppies and an incredible waterfall. I coo and love on them before b-lining to the toilet facilities. Peeling off my soaked socks afterward, I put them into my mud-covered shoes and place them just outside of the tent. 

I change into warm clothes and check on the young lady struggling with the altitude today. Then join the group in the dinner tent for popcorn and more hot cocoa tea.

Trail puppies and dirty shoes
These faces!!
Precious waterfalls along the trail
Waterfall beside camp
Sleeping at night while hiking the Lares Trek in Peru
Basecamp; night two

It’s all I can do to keep my eyes open to get through dinner. I brush my teeth outside using a swig of Listerine and climb into my sleeping bag. Another freezing night (5 degrees Celsius), and despite my level of exhaustion, sleep evades me. I daydream instead of the train ride and hot shower that awaits me at the end of the day tomorrow.

Onward, Downward

I’m woken an hour before the normal wake-up call by the sound of the rain. Everything hurts, but I try to just lay there and rest my limbs. After a while, the group is suiting up, drinking our hot cocoa in silent solidarity, before we hit the trail. 

We’ve two more downhill hours to go before the end of the trek and the bus, aka my salvation. Along the trail, we stop at a local home and experience firsthand their simple, but happy way of living. Sleeping on beds made of wooden beams and two blankets in total for the family of five.

The gorgeous views in the clouds while hiking the Lares Trek.
Village life, mountain view
Giving the blessings of citrus to some local children while hiking the Lares Trek
Beautiful baby girls ecstatic for some goodies

I’m humbled where I stand, feeling immediately privileged for having complained about the cold one too many times. We leave bread, fruit, cocoa leaves, and powdered milk for the family for their hospitality. We pass the village kindergarten on the way where two young girls play nearby with stray dogs. They stop playing when they notice us and approach seeing that we are foreigners. 

They don’t ask us for anything yet wait patiently, expectantly. Our guide shares a few sentences in Quechua (ketch-oo-ah), the native tongue of the mountain people. We leave them with some bread, sweets, and cereal bars then split the rest of the bread with two older women, presumably their mothers or teachers, and the dogs.

Guinea Pigs are pets, they're also food!
Guinea pigs (kuy) eating dinner living inside
The living conditions of local along the Lares Trek.
Beds made from wooden beams with limited blankets

Humbled by History & Nature Hiking The Lares Trek

We continue hiking the Lares Trek trail, coming across the various Incan ruins. Swallowed by nature and serene, the energy inside is magnetic. It sets the hair on my forearms on edge. I imagine what life in this place so many years ago must’ve been like. The fears, dreams, and losses these ancient people had to overcome. 

I glance around at the flora and fauna here and how surrounded the valley is by the high mountains. Pausing, I’m enchanted by how the clouds snake through the mountains high above the valley. I reflect on how far I’ve come on this trek, in life, and only now do I thank myself for this challenge; hiking the Lares Trek trail.

Hiking the Lares Trek in high spirits despite the challenges
Incaraqui (Incan ruins on Lares Trek)

Once we reach the bottom of the trail, we congratulate each other on the accomplishment and take more group photos. Knowing the bus waits patiently a few dozen meters ahead of us, we quicken our pace fueled only by the desire to sit in a warm atmosphere and a comfortable chair. Lunch is next on the menu of the day and we’re running late.

We wait for lunch to be prepared and pass the time with a game that has been officially named “Frog Mouth” by the group. Much like cornhole but with obvious differences. Players must toss heavy metal coins into different holes, directly into the frog’s mouth. These last moments together are precious bonding over laughter and shared experiences of hiking the Lares Trek trail together, unspoken gratitude to be done.

G Adventures bus of glory after completing the hardest hike of my life in the Andes
My salvation aka the bus
The funnest of the bunch!
Some of what was left of our tour group at the end of the trek
We did it! We ALL hiked the Lares Trek
The whole group at the end of the trek
The small group tour plays together at the close of the hike

The group played Frog Mouth to pass the time

Want More Travel Stories From Meredith?

Find more engaging travel stories from Bag Lady’s early days of travel journaling by searching for Castle Tales & Crikey! Caste Tales is a three-part series about my time living in a co-working mansion on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. Crikey is a two-parter about my experience hiking through The Red Center in the Great Outback of Australia.

Need More Adventure?

Watch the video and #SUBSCRIBE to the Bag Lady Meredith San Diego YouTube channel for more videos!

Post Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search the blog
hey, I'm meredith!
bagLady Meredith SanDiego in front of wooden fence painted with a sign Sandiego

Welcome to Bag Lady Meredith San Diego!

As a global citizen with more than 57 passport stamps, my adventure mandatory, serial-expat existence offers intuitive insight into globetrotting as a solo Black, female.

Whether it’s by plane, boat, moped, bus, or train, I LIVE for traveling.

100+ travel apps for wayfarers

Get your free copy of A Wayfarer’s Mobile Application Checklist!

101 mobile apps for travelers, from flights and accommodation to tours and sustainable travel.

popular posts

Join our newsletter

white arrow on grey and white checks

Bag Lady Meredith San Diego is always on the move! Completing her 57th country in 2022, where can you spot Meredith San Diego adventuring in 2023? Stay tuned to find out just where in the world is Meredith San Diego!

A Wayfarers Mobile Application Checklist mockup of 3 pages with Meredith having a hot drink and working on her laptop in the background


long brown arrow over a brown and white check icon

Get your free copy of A Wayfarer’s Mobile Application Checklist!

101 mobile apps for travelers, from flights and accommodation to tours and sustainable travel.

This free guide covers all the apps you will need to make your solo travel easy!

By entering your details you will be added to my mailing list. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Where in the world?

white arrow on grey and white checks

Bag Lady Meredith San Diego is always on the move! Completing her 57th country in 2022, where can you spot Meredith San Diego adventuring in 2023? Stay tuned to find out just where in the world is Meredith San Diego!