Posted by: davesnewadventure | May 31, 2007

The Return of the Pacha’Mama: 5 Days on the Iscachoka – Ayacucho Pass

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Dave’s New Adventure: Adventures from the South American Continent: 03-2007
The Return of the Pacha’Mama: Five Days on the Iscachoka-Ayacucho Pass

The Author begins his ride along the Iscachoka Ayacucho Pass.

Map of the Iscachoka-Ayacucho Pass.
The moment I crossed the deep mudslide, sinking down to my knees in thick, quicksand like mud, and carried a hapless woman who’d been stuck there for 2 days, was when I realized that there was no turning back. We were high up in a remote section of narrow dirt road on the route from Iscachoka to Ayacucho in the Andes. As I carried the lady to a car waiting on the other side, I looked up the canyon side that the road was carved into. It was the rainy season, and the route was treacherous, and muddy. I looked down at the 800 meter drop. There was only enough room for one small vehicle to pass through. Yet, despite the conditions, nothing could take away my glee. Something wonderful happened to me the night before, when I camped out at 4500 meters above sea level, on top of a red mountain. That event was enough to goad me on to Cusco, to return to where the mystery first enveloped me six years ago. Of course, this kind of high adventure came with a price, and I was willing to pay it. The mystery of the unknown, which calls to be explored, required faith in myself, and my abilities to adapt, survive, and to persist. In the process, the mystery revealed herself to me, and I discovered that nothing occurred without a purpose.I started my trip from Huancayo on Wednesday at 12 PM. It was a late start, but I was delayed in getting the supplies I needed. I knew from talking to the host father that the chosen route, which also was a shortcut to Ayacucho, was sparsely populated and rough. There were a few scattered villages but after that, I was venturing down a little known route. The road consisted of packed dirt, and traffic was light. We discussed my daily destinations, and agreed that I’d have to camp along certain points.

The River Mantaro.

An avalanche zone.

A very narrow turn, with a very steep dropoff.

The road was also dangerous in several aspects. There were elevation extremes, with steep climbs and dangerous descents; the narrow road was cut into the side of a canyon, and it followed a gorge carved out by the River Manataro, resulting in dropoffs on the sides of over 800 meters. Another unknown factor was the rainy season, which created some interesting situations: muddy roads, land slides, and avalanches frequently occurred along the way. Still, it was the fastest route to Ayacucho, and I had to be in Cusco by the end of March for an expedition with my exploration partner, Marco, and our team. My best bet was the Iscachoka-Ayacucho pass.

Oh, and there is one other danger. During the days of the Shining Path terrorists, this area was infested with training camps, weapons caches, and ghost towns where the terrorists mowed down whole villages. Rumors of terrorist activity reactivating were spread, since both the USA and the Europeans were pressuring Peru to release Abimael Guzman, the leader of the group, who incidentally killed 40,000 people, due to questions about ex president Fujimori’s abuse of Guzman and the terrorist’s human rights. That’s like countries demanding the USA to release Osama Bin Laden, if he was imprisoned, due to human rights concerns.

I asked around to confirm the rumors, and everyone replied they were just rumors. However, highway men were a concern. Every truck driver who traversed the route was armed for defense with shotguns or rifles. My armament consisted of a large survival knife, and a set of nunchakus. Since most robberies and assaults occurred at night, my strategy was to find a safe area by 5:30 PM, either in a town or a campsite hidden from the road. Most of these dangers weren’t new to me. I faced the same perils in Central America six years ago, and I still consider Central America, especially Guatemala, to be far more dangerous than Peru. Even in the USA, highway men roam the deserted areas in remote sections. For me, the new variables were the conditions and the elevation. Drops of over 1000 meters occurred often, and obviously there was no guard rail. Combined with rain and snow at the highest elevations, I’d have to make my way carefully.

From Huancayo to Iscachoka, I climbed up to 4000 meters, and then dropped to 2700 in Iscachoka in an amazing, twisting downhill. The road was tarmac, but I said goodbye to smooth roads the moment I entered Iscachoka. I stayed in a hostel, where Manuel, the son of the lady who ran the place, helped me finalize my daily destinations.

The town of Iscachoka.

According to Manuel, the Iscachoka-Ayacucho pass attracted a hardy type of bicycle traveler and every year a decent number of them traversed the pass. Every single one stayed at his hostel. In fact, they were the only type of traveler to go through the area. I asked him about the dangers I’d face, and about the rumors of terrorists. There wasn’t any terrorist activity ever since Fujimori destroyed the group seven years ago. However, regarding the highway men, we both agreed it was best to camp before sundown. Highway patrols ceased in the next town of Qwicha, where an army outpost stood guard over a hydroelectric dam, one of the biggest in Peru. After Qwicha, road patrols ceased, and there was no security patrol until the desert/pampa town of Mayuc, which was 3 to 4 days away. Between these two towns was wild territory.

Heading to Qwicha.

Swarms of blue beetles coat my jersey.

As the road twists around, I get to see what's coming up ahead, since the road is carved around the twisting canyon.

I rode to Qwicha the next day in my first introduction to the dirt road. Manuel accompanied me for part of the way before turning back. It was packed dirt, rough, and potholes pitted the road, but from the narrow road, came vistas that I never expected to see. Every turn was hidden in a horizon of mountains, and as I rounded the curves, the canyon would open up to a new and unexpected view. The mountains shot straight up into the sky, and they were covered in green brush, cactus, and shrubs. Clouds rose up, and dotted the highest peaks, as they slowly ascended the sides. Multitudes of butterflies and swarms of tiny blue beetles flew into my goggles, clothes, and mouth as I rumbled down the descents. The road itself was only wide enough for a single vehicle to pass through, and it would stay that way for the next few days. Luckily, the clouds obscured the sun, and the temperature was cool and comfortable. Sometimes I would get a preview of my route, which would appear as a white line cutting into the side of a mountain. Other times, I’d follow winding curve after curve until I emerged into yet another view full of mountains dotting the horizon. Along the way, I met two boys who harvested prickly pear fruit from the cacti on the road. I watched them gather the fruit, and we shared a lunch of sweet, succulent, moist prickly pear. Unfortunately I didn’t observe the boy’s method properly. When I tried to gather some, the fruit’s spines embedded into my leather gloves. For the next three days, despite numerous attempts to wash and pick out the spines, I yelped everytime I squeezed the brakes. During a rough and rocky descent to Qwicha, my cheap Peruvian pump fell apart. Luckily, I rebuilt and reinforced a new one in the town with some spare parts at a bike shop. I stayed in hostel Sol y Luna, and spent part of the night capturing an enormous moth for a little girl to have as a pet. The owner there also had a number of cyclists stay over, and commented that Ayacucho was just 3 days away. I went to sleep that night expecting a reasonably short and spectacular trip. How wrong I was.

I make breakfast before heading out.

Meanwhile a dog wants me to pet it.

Course, the parrot gets the first ride of the day...

The cholita and her husband. The concoction she made for me is in the yellow bottle mounted on the back of my bike.

Spectacular, yes. Reasonably short? No. The next day, I had a bad start, since I had diarrhea. Luckily, at a village up the mountain, a woman made me a tea concoction from local herbs, muña de gato, and enojo. It stopped the runs, and I continued my climb. In Qwicha, I started at an elevation of 2000 meters. By the late afternoon, I’d ascended almost double that amount. The change in environment went from a high mountain, warm, dry forest zone to what’s called queshua, a middle mountain environmental zone between 2700 and 3100 meters where the temperature during the day was relatively mild, like middle spring. Here, there was moisture, cactus as usual, but there were more broad leaf trees, and unusual bird sounds, some that sounded like parakeets and parrots. As I ascended even higher, I entered yet another mountain zone, called puno, which was high mountain. Here, the temperatures hit extremes due to the thin air. At night it became very cold, and during the day, depending on the cloud cover, it got really hot. Vegetation was much thinner, but the ever adaptable cactus was ubiquitous. The soil changed from brown, white, and yellow to a deep thick red. Everything was red: from the canyon, the mountains, and the soil. When the sun set, I set up camp on the peak of an abandoned village ruin nearby a tiny community of three families along a mountain creek.

The red gorge.

Setting up camp.

By nightfall, the entire milky way coated the sky and a half moon started to ascend. I cooked my dinner, of noodles, tomato sauce, and soy protein, and enjoyed my meal with the caress of the wind against my face. I felt as if the sky was kissing me, and the stars twinkled in a million glittering points above, in a sky as clear as glass. In the grandeur of the night sky, I marveled at the glory of the universe.

In this moment of peace and meditation, I saw something I hadn’t seen in six years. As I ate my meal in peace, suddenly, from beneath the sky, behind the mountain range, the entire cordillera lit up. It took my by surprise, until I remembered, and as I did, a tingle of energy went through my entire body. Six years ago, on the top of a 5000 meter mountain near Cusco, during an expedition I witnessed what I can only describe as an intelligent energy form. And now, it, or more properly, She revealed herself to me yet again. Once again, she revealed herself as she did to Marco and me, by lighting up the entire mountain range, in a sequential, non random pattern – on a crystal clear, cloudless night, in an area hundreds of kilometers away from even a small village. Six years ago, when she first revealed herself to us, she not only lit up the range, she also flashed a light – inside of our optic nerves. She bypassed the feedback effect of the rods and cones in our eyes. Typically, when a light is flashed in the eyes, and then the eyes are exposed to darkness immediately, a residual effect of colored blobs appears, due to the activated rods and cones. But this energy form was smart. She went straight for our optic nerves… or perhaps inside of us. When Marco and I first experienced this, we panicked, and then tested our eyes with our flashlights to make sure we weren’t going crazy. We got the residual blobs and temporary blindness from our lights, and when we figured out we weren’t crazy, we panicked. In the memory of that, this night, I cringed, and waited, half expecting the same treatment as before, but she didn’t do that. Readers of my adventures six years ago will recognize what and who I’m talking about.

The She that I’m referring to is known to the Quechua as the Pacha’Mama, the Earth Goddess of the Incans. According to the shamans, she appears in front of the “accla’haska”, quechua for the term “chosen one”. Six years ago, Marco and I were chosen to fulfill a task which we are still defining today. But my current journey wasn’t to be involved with that… well, I hoped not yet. As I watched the entire mountain range do Her light show, I got the feeling inside that the Pacha’Mama welcomed me back, because I felt no fear. So, I smiled as I watched Her present herself, closed my eyes, and repeated a mantra. Then I thanked her for appearing. When I went to bed, I could see Her light through the panels of my tent.

The little rascals.

The next morning, it was raining, and I quickly packed my things. A group of boys who lived in the village came by to help. The day before, they brought me prickly pear fruit for dessert. Unfortunately, all of them had a cold which I caught, but it wouldn’t gestate fully until much later.

That morning, I felt strong. It was good thing I felt that way, because an hour later, I came to a cliff where a mudslide trapped several vehicles for two days. The drivers worked to put rocks into the mud, and to create a firmer area for people to walk through, but they needed more time for small vehicles. Complicating matters was a creek flowing into the mudslide. It continually diluted the soil into thinner grades of mud, creating a sinking morass and mix of mud and rough, sharp, stones.

Rescuing a lady from the mudslide.

I dismounted, removed my bike bags, and carried my things one by one across. As I carried them through the mud, the weight sank me deeper into the mush. As the passengers and drivers watched in amusement, several of them pointed me to a shallow, safe area to cross. On the other side were three teachers with several children. They’d been trapped for those two days without food or water, and survived by harvesting the prickly pear fruit along side the road. I quickly set up my stove, and grabbed my filter to make clean water. I had a large supply of noodles and soy protein, and we gave the children the first batch. As they ate, we watched the men pile stone after stone in, until finally, a single vehicle crossed, but not without difficulty. It took another two hours before the rest of the small cars passed through, but they had to be unloaded, otherwise they might collapse the stone pile in the mud. Everyone else crossed on foot, until finally, after checking to make sure the kids crossed, the last teacher attempted to walk through. In the middle of the mud, her feet got stuck. A rock fell on her foot, and she screamed. I didn’t notice it at first, since I was cleaning up, but when the driver alerted me to her, I ran into the goop, lifted her up, and gingerly made my way across. After saying thanks and exchanging contact information, I remounted my things on the bike, and took off.

I didn’t get far that day, since I lost two hours at the mudslide. My plan was to make it to the desert pampa town of Mayuc. Instead I settled on Anko at 4 PM, because Mayuc was another four hours away after Anko. Luckily, it was a rough, and exhilarating downhill through more mud, cliffs, overhangs, sharp turns, and steep drops. When I got into town I arrived in a village fair area, where an old quechua woman, called a “Cholita”, permitted me to camp inside of a makeshift barn.

The villagers start to gather around.

A few people watch the camcorder.

The rest of the village comes in!

Everyone's mesmerized with the mudslide playback.

As I set up my tent, a few kids gathered around to watch. Soon, several adults sat down to see the spectacle. By the time I pulled out my cook set, the entire village surrounded me, asked questions, laughed at my jokes, and watched my camcorder play back the events of the mudslide. I was their TV journalist for the night. I cooked up a new dish, macaroni shells, tomatoes, onions, soy protein, and thai curry. As the air filled with the scent of spice, I gave each kid a taste of the dish. For entertainment, I told dirty jokes for the rest of the night, but only after I checked to make sure the parents had left. I also told them the story of my parent’s romance, and escape from Saigon in 1975, and my audience sat in rapt attention. Later that night, I taught basic astronomy, just naming the constellations, to the children, and talked to a local, Alfred, who was visiting from Lima, about what kind of future the kids had. There wasn’t much. Unlike the USA, where in small towns the military was an option, here, there were no options except subsistence agriculture. Alfred left the town when he was 18, and recently came back to help open a copper mine. He hoped it would bring an income and more options to his people. I hoped so too.

Heading out to Ayacucho... I hoped.

It's muddy.

It's really freaking muddy.

The next day, I was determined to make it to Ayacucho. I knew I’d have to make a big push, since the distance and terrain I had left to cover was even more difficult than the previous three days. After a sendoff from Alfred and some of the children, I pushed my bike up a steep incline high into the sky. At the top, along a narrow, muddy pass, I started my descent.

Perhaps the Pacha’Mama was testing me. Perhaps I became overconfident at my handling skills and strength. Regardless, the earth taught me a lesson in humility. 45 minutes later, I crouched in the mud in pain. I felt the pain in my skin, and pulled up my black and red mud stained rain pants. Blood leaked out of the wound, as I sat there, staring at a gash in my leg. Nearby, two boys stared at me, as I breathed hard, and tried to ignore the pain. I looked at the boys, and then at the ground. That was close. I stared at my bicycle, and noted it was still in tact. On that descent, I didn’t roll or coast down. I flew. I flew through mud, ruts, rocks narrowly missed a drop off, and everything went well until I hit a hole that I couldn’t avoid at full speed. It came fast, and my reflexes were just enough to avoid crashing inside of it. Luckily, other than that wound I was in good shape. I stood up, and looked down the road. Once again, the environment changed, from a wet high mountain zone, to something that appeared out of a New Mexico desert. Where was I? The zones changed so quickly, that I felt as if I passed through five different countries in the last three days. I cycled on, passing through scattered villages of two or three families, until I reached the desert/pampa town of Mayuc. There, I washed the wound, resupplied my water, and ate lunch. Several highway patrollers were in the restaurant, and we discussed my options.

Pampa, high mountain desert.

On the road through to Mayuc.

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Resting in Mayuc.

I don’t think you’re going to make it to Ayacucho. Said the cop.
You’re kidding me.
Your best bet is to get to Huanta, and that’s still a distance from here.
Is it the only village after Mayuc?
Yes, and you should try to get there before night fall.
Are there highway men?
Yes, which is why it’s best for you to get there. If not, you should set up camp before sun down.

A mule declines my challenge.

I refilled my containers, and did a quick check, while several village drunks tried to get friendly with me. For a Sunday afternoon it was early to have drunks. They were nice though, and they helped me reattach my bag. I took off, and cycled up through yet another change in environment and temperature. The sun, after some relief with over cast skies, came out in full force. Temperatures hit the upper 90’s, and I was glad that I refilled my water. I stripped off my cold weather gear, and continued down the road. The road diverged from the river, and I no longer heard the roar of the rapids. Instead, it was the wind through the sand and cacti, which looked a lot like Saguaro. Interestingly, parts of the road were still laden with mud, but most of it was dry, gravel, or packed dirt. I climbed the ascents, and zoomed down the descents, scaring herds of donkeys and mules. At one point, I had a race against a mule; on the downhill, I easily won the contest, but going uphill, that ass kicked my… butt.

The desert begins a transition into jungle.

At the top of the mountain, I cycled around a curve, and descended again. Once again, the environment changed. For several hours before, I cycled through a parched, pampa zone, and suddenly a wave of moisture hit me in the face. I stopped and listened to loud chirping, whirring, buzzing, and fluttering. Insects! I’d descended into a forest of green, and noisy, buzzing insects. The bubbling, gurgling sound of an aqueduct filled my ears, and I spotted a corn field right next to me. I’d entered into a zone called “Yunca”, or high mountain jungle.

The zone was much denser in population, and in plant life. There were banana gardens, coconut trees, mango groves, orange trees, lemon trees, corn fields, and farms. When I got a view through the bushes, I spotted valleys lush with green, filled with trees, plants, gardens, and homes. Farm fields dotted the mountain sides near the aqueducts, which flowed with clear water. I stopped at a few to wash my face and things. Juxtaposed on this in the distance were high mountains, some which were bare of any plant life. I’d never seen a landscape like this before, and it was both alien, and beautiful.

A banana garden in the jungle.

An aqueduct brings water, and finally, I get relief from the heat.

Jungle against bare mountain.

The Yunca.

I wasn’t at Huanta yet, and it was 3:30 PM. I had no intention of doing any more camping. All I wanted was a hot shower and a comfortable place to sleep. I cycled on, and enjoyed the new environment. A truck driver passed by me, and I asked him if it was possible to make it to Ayacucho. He said no, since Ayacucho was 50 kilometers from Huanta. That made the decision for me; Huanta was my destination for the night. By now, my cold gestated fully, and I felt it via a dry sinus. After another beautiful, and technical descent, I met the cops again at a suspension bridge across the river.

How’re you doing so far?
Well, I survived!
You just have a little further to go buddy. Keep pushing, you’ll make it.

A little further? Sometimes I wondered exactly what the Peruvians meant whenever they said “just a little further”. I didn’t make it to Huanta until 7:30 PM, after a tough ascent for several hours. Along the way, I passed a farmer whose horse had been stolen, so I spent some time walking with him and his daughter searching for it. We didn’t find it. As I cycled up the road, the customary bumping, rumbling, and grinding of the road disappeared. I stopped in surprise, and put my foot on the ground. It felt smooth. What the? I was back on a highway again! I finished the hardest part of the Iscachoka-Ayacucho pass! I grinned as I got off the bike and pushed up the road. I did it! I was through, and other than a leg injury, I made it through alive.

In Huanta, I stopped inside a corner convenience store, and collapsed onto a chair. I had no idea how spent I was until I realized I couldn’t stand up. The owner told me to sit and rest, and asked me about my journey. I told him some of the events that’d happened along the way, and soon his wife and teenage neighbor, Katty, entered the shop. They started asking me about my trip, my self, my journey, my love life, and about what I thought of Peru. After I answered their questions, I got up and asked them if they knew of any hostels in town.

I need to clean my bike tomorrow. It’s not functioning right because of the mud.
The hostels won’t let you do that.
They’re high buildings. There’s no place for you to do that. Why don’t you stay here?
Sure, I’m inviting you. You’ll save yourself 30 to 40 sols too.
Well, I’m grateful for your hospitality but I’d like to do something for you. Can I cook for your family?
Sure! What can you cook?
I’ve got a great vegetarian dish.
We have a kitchen, and lots of ingredients.
Great! Let me get my things out.

We put my things in an unused room beneath the shop. Their home was basic and consisted of a dirt floor, and bare adobe walls. The shower was cold, outside in the moonlight, and the toilet was a hole in the ground with bricks as a step platform. I pulled out the soy protein, spices, and bought some flour, milk powder, and ketchup. We made my younger brother barbecue dish, which tastes a lot like chicken nuggets dipped in ketchup. As we ate, their two children came in to join us. The eldest was six years old, had eyes that didn’t seem to look outward properly, and a mouth that was consistently open. Katty immediately hugged him and played with him. He looked at me curiously, and I smiled at him and waved. The youngest, who was three years old, reminded me of my nephew, and he was normal. The mother smiled and gave each kid a dish, while the father goaded the six year old to eat.

Danny observes his environment.

Danny's little brother.

I asked the father some questions about his children, just their ages and what their names were. The six year old’s name was Danny. As we talked, the father revealed to me that Danny was retarded.

Do you worry about him?
Yes, a lot. The doctors said he’s retarded.
Did they recommend anything else, like a treatment, or special training?
Nothing at all. They just said he was retarded, and that was that.

From the moment I met the father, I noticed how he always appeared somewhat pensive. Now I knew why.

Is he studying in a special school?
Well, we take him to a school, but most of the specialists are in Lima. They never come out here.

The mother put the children to bed, and came back to join us for tea.

You’re worried about his future? I asked.

My mind was churning, as I searched for something that I knew about kids with disabilities. I knew there were kids who eventually were able to lead full and productive lives, and I wanted to say something to help the father feel better.

Most people have some kind of special talent. In the USA, there are people who are autistic, and it takes some time, but when they discover it, they tend to lead productive lives. It just takes some time to find that ability.

That didn’t seem to reassure them.

How old is he again?

Six… something clicked in my brain.

So there’s still some time.
Yes, about 50% of the problem is genetic, the other 50% is nutrition. He’s still a growing boy, and if you take care of nutrition, I’m sure that will help.

That got their attention.

How so?
Well, as an example, nerve membranes require lecithin. Nerve connections require the right chemicals and minerals, and the right fats help cell growth and neural cells. At 6, a lot is already established, and you can’t help that, but he’s not done growing yet. Do you give him any multivitamins?
We’re too poor for that. One bottle is a half month’s wages.

That was a problem. I thought some more.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that they didn’t need multivitamins. Peru is a country rich in nutritious fruits, vegetables, and there were unique indigenous products that were more powerful, and effective than any manufactured vitamin supplement out there. Coca, the leaf which is used to make cocaine, is an excellent example. Coca contains more vitamins, minerals, and proteins than meat or milk. In addition, the sheer number of plants rich in powerful chemicals that neutralized cancer, fixed kidneys, and healed all kinds of illnesses was available to anyone regardless of income. This priceless treasure of biodiversity, this natural pharmacopeias is a result of the sheer number of environmental zones, and their proximity to each other, much like the ones I cycled through in a few days. I spent a lot of time asking locals about medicinal plants, herbs and fungi, and here I was with all this information just waiting to be used. We spent part of the night discussing the variety of fruits, vegetables, and local products that they could use instead of depending on artificial supplements.

If you think about it, as your body grows it demands the right elements to function properly. When those elements aren’t available, that’s when your body has problems.
That makes a lot of sense.

I then figured out what I could do for the family in exchange for their hospitality.

Tell you what, let me write up a nutrition program for you child. It’s the least I can do for you.
You’ll do that?
Sure. My mom’s experienced in nutrition, and I’ve spent a long time studying sports nutrition. I can ask her for help too.
Thank you for your help. Said the mother
Yes, thank you. For the longest time, we just wondered if what the doctors said was the end.
Well, like I said, this should help improve him. It’s not a cure, but good nutrition is important for anybody growing.

Ten years of bodybuilding, fitness, and studies in sport’s nutrition, nutrition for the brain and my mother’s lifelong obsession with nutrition was finally put to good use. I wrote up a program with the following elements: increase fruits and vegetables, increase quinoa intake for its complete protein package and omega fatty acids; add Sacha Inchi, a powerful indigenous vegetable oil that was more powerful than flax or cod liver oil, and less toxic than cod liver oil; add soy milk for lecithin; cut down on all meat intake, to decrease the carcinogens, pesticides, and herbicides which interfere with neural pathways; stop all junk food intake to get rid of monosodium glutamate, which is toxic to neural cells, and to remove artificial sweeteners and preservatives, which are toxic. I also added a program of Mozart and classical music for the kids to listen to at night, chess, and some quiet time in the country side. The program was as complete as I could make it without access to my reference books. Later that night, they boiled water for me to take a hot bath, and I went into a deep sleep.

In the family mototaxi.

The family.

The next morning I washed the bike down and the family took me into town in their moto taxi for supplies fruit, and to show me around. When we got back I gave them the program, and we exchanged contacts. As always, I thanked them for their hospitality, and left.

On the way to Ayacucho.

The road to Ayacucho was smooth, and as I cycled to the summit of another mountain, I looked back. Perhaps that was another part of the mystery, the mystery of why we’re here. Each day, each night, I was serving some kind of purpose. Perhaps that’s why the Pacha’Mama welcomed me back, because I returned, once again, to the land of the Incas, to a people ancient beyond imagination, with a simple purpose. I was here to serve others. I grinned at the thought, as I enjoyed the blue sky, dotted with a few puffy clouds, the temperate weather, and the glass smooth road to Ayacucho, high up in the Andean mountains.

On the way to Ayacucho.

The author hard at work… trying not to fall off the cliff.

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Some Documentary Shorts pertaining to this piece.



  1. Es un justo que estuviste en mi pueblo Mayocc por un momento, Veo algunas fotos en esta pagina. A proximadamente a 1 kM de mayocc hay una hacienda y criaderos de cuyes, Esperamos que nos visites mas adelante, no te preocupes del alojamiento, Estaremos en contacto.
    Yo te escribo de Cajamarca que esta al norte de Lima ciudad capital , Yo trabajo en una empresa minera, si deseas ver algunos videos visita la pagima http://www.yo


  2. Estoy feliz y fui un honor para conocer tu gente en estes lugares isolados. Bueno, si tengo un otre oportunidad para volver y visitar otre vez, voy a visitar.

    Un abrazo,
    el aventurero

  3. Best you could change the post subject title The Return of the Pacha’Mama: 5 Days on the Iscachoka – Ayacucho Pass Dave's New Adventures and Explorations to something more specific for your webpage you write. I enjoyed the post nevertheless.

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