I have to admit, I have been out on a lot of adventures, especially lately, but this is definitely one of the most epic and long awaited. Wakrapukara is an Incan fortress perched up on a stone pillar, standing in the middle of a deep canyon near the village of Huayque in Acomayo province in Cusco. And it take a long time to hike, or in our case horseback ride up to it. WARNING, this is for expert riders, it's a very tuff trail. nearly all on the edge of the abyss. Well, for expert riders, and for my dad!
Im so glad I got to share this adventure for the first time with my dad (this was his first ride at 77 years old with a 1 year old new hip, yes he's a hardcore adventurer), and two of my best friends Edward who is from Huayque and Wilbert who is my companion from many a horseback adventure.
We drove from Cusco to Pomacanchi lake and slept in a great community owned lodge. In the morning we drove 40 minutes up to the village of Huayque to meet Edward and the horses. The drive was already spectacular.
The first part of the climb was a rocky trail but the horses did great. There were both Peruvian Paso horses and criollo (mixed mountain horses) and all of them were amzing and used to the extreme trail and luckily our saddles were stable and comfortable. I admit I am a very experienced rider and have been on a lot of unofficial trails, as are Edward and Wilbert. This trail was wide and obviously an ancestral road and had been transited by horses for generations, but I still felt like a bit of a jerk for taking my novice dad all the way up there. Especially after I realised were were going to be riding for 6 or 7 hours! I kept looking back and asking if he was ok. He was hanging onto his saddle horn tightly and looking concentrated but he always answered "I'm fine"!
The entire ride was breathtaking. There were views above, below and all around us. Arriving to the actual site was so enigmatic, I had seen photos, but the journey was so epic and extreme that I really felt the remoteness of this "fortress" which I'm sure was actually a very sacred ritual site. The ancient constructions were impecable and symbolic, on such a rugged piece of landscape and the canyons all around were so very deep.
I dont know what to say except that, go there, any way you can. The site isn't physically large but this is one of the places that despite the extreme route to get there, it so worth is because there you really feel the power of the ancient spirituality. It's not just the actualy construstion, it's the entire location that is astounding. And most likely you'll arrive and nobody else will be there. We all experienced a deep connection with our horsesand with the land. This is truly a journey to the edge, literally and emotionally. We had hot sun, extreme wind, rain, hail and we even ran into a group of wild horses and some mountain goats. We saw condors and passed below monumental overhanging rocks that made me forget which was was up or down. This is a journey of trust and letting go, on all levels. Luckily the next morning dad said "I'm amazed, I'm not sore!"
We have a two day and two night horseback expedition coming up on December 15-17th (for actual experts) and later in the new year we will program more trips. Check out our website Frontierlab.org and get in touch if you'd like to make this journey with us.