8000ft Climb to Quechua Village, Then Cusco, Machu Picchu
Casey continues to follow the Apurimac tributary of the Amazon. Water levels have been very high however with the ushering in of the wet season. In light of this Casey decided to climb over high elevations while staying as close to the river as possible.
This resulted in a 'marathon' climb day where he climbed 8196ft (2490m) up from the Apurimac River. He made the eight-hour climb up numerous switchbacks joined by two new dog friends accompanying him for the entire climb.
Once at the top, "it was freezing cold – the coldest I have been since leaving the UK," exclaimed Casey. Fortunately, the local Quechua villagers took him into a warm home and treated him to hot coffee.
People in various Quechua indigenous villages had been very surprised to see a gringo. In fact, so much so they feared for his safety. They warned Casey he could easily be the victim of mochileros (groups of young men transporting cocaine), or that he could be ambushed by armed bandits.
Greater wisdom prevailed and he decided to travel with a walking partner named Herberth.
The walk, however, was not without its dangers. Casey tells the story of how the morning after a huge rainstorm a landslide of "tons" of boulders crashed down where they had been only seconds prior.
On January 2 Casey took a detour, leaving the trail next to the Apurimac to head up the mountain to Cusco and Machu Picchu.