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Old 07-08-2011, 08:38 AM   #11
poolman OP
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Darnestown, MD
Oddometer: 747
Quillabamba to Lares Hot Springs

Despite enjoying our first indulgent evening of the trip, we were all up early and eager to begin our ride through the most remote territory yet. We would be traveling all day through the jungle with the goal of reaching the Lares Hot Springs. We had received conflicting reports from the locals about landslides and road conditions. The consensus was that the tracks would probably be passable by motorcycle, but not by car. Perfect!

Our route for the day:

The morning view from the hostal.

Ready to go.

Juan knew of a nice waterfall, so we decided to stop for a break.

Culin tries his best to lure monkeys out of the jungle, but to no avail.

We can’t reach the bananas.

Coffee grows naturally in this region.

We rejoined the main track.

The Giant Loop Coyote luggage has proven to be a good choice for this trip.

The confluence of two rivers contributing to the source waters of the Amazon.

Lots of water...

... and water crossings.

Coffee is dried by the side of the road.

We refueled and rehydrated again in San Cristobal.

Incense is constantly burned at many of the above-ground cemeteries.

After San Cristobal we were alone on the road. The locals in Quillabamba must be correct; we had seen no vehicular traffic in many hours. We were hoping their assertion that the roads "might" be passable by motorcycle is true. If not, we would certainly have fuel issues.

Did I mention there was lots of water?

The current was extremely swift in many of these rivers, and the consequences of a fall could be severe.

We emptied our boots and continued on.

We were climbing, and the vista was spectacular.

I stopped to view another roadside cemetery, and decisively concluded that incense burning is done for a reason.

We continued on the track toward Lares.

Despite the warnings, our mighty NX400 Falcons reached the remote Lares Hot Springs. Unfortunately, we appear to have arrived off season, and the gate is locked. After extensive negotiations with the guard, Juan was able to secure basic accommodations (no potable water, no heat, no food), and is charged double the advertized rate.

I had really looked forward to enjoying the Lares hot springs, but I cannot recommend it even though the property itself was quite interesting. Several natural hot springs have been tapped, and the water has been channeled to a series of pools ranging from warm to scalding hot. There are even geothermal outdoor hot mineral showers. The color of the water is somewhat disconcerting, but there is no foul odor. I soaked in a pool that was approximately 105 degrees F.

The problem is that the owners/operators clearly did not welcome foreign visitors, and preferred catering to the locals who enjoy the facility on a day basis. It was my impression that the proprietors loathed foreigners, and then loathed themselves for accepting the foreigner’s money out of necessity to keep the place operating. In all of our travels, this was the only negative encounter we had with anyone in Peru.

With no food available at the compound, we decided to ride in the dark to the town proper of Lares, about 10 KM away. We had missed lunch and were happy to find a woman offering food from a small cafe operated out of her home.

Again, we encounter curious, friendly, and welcoming people.

A tribal language was spoken, so I had no idea what I was served.

After dinner I went into the kitchen to thank the woman who stayed late to prepare our dinner. As I was leaving, a dog lifted his leg over the large basket of potatoes stored on the floor, marking his territory.

The overpriced accommodations were cold, dirty, and full of spiders. It was far more comfortable outside.

There was a nice view from my hammock in the morning.

More to follow...

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