Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mummies, Ruins, and Nevada Veronica

Last Friday, a dear friend of Maryjane, Guillermo, led us on an amazing hike. We rose early from a good night of sleep so that we could get the Canteras before dusk. The hike goes along the Urubamba river and up into the mountains where Guerillmo grew up. MJ teases Guillermo because he is like a goat in these mountains, jumping from rock to rock and scaling up the hillside. In these mountains, some kids walk upwards of 3 hours to get to and from school.

Guerillmo knows a lot of the Inca legends and pre Inca ruins. Along the way, he pointed out tombs used by the pre Incan people. The are built with smaller rocks than the Incas used and are cylinder forms. Scatterd about the hillside, they are evidence of people who were here long before the Incas and Spaniards.

Two special treats on this journery were: standing face to face with the Veronicas and seeing the undisturbed mummy tomb. The Vericonas are illusive behind a camera lens with the bright reflection of the sun but when you hike way up into the mountains, you are rewarded with an amazing view. I was getting very tired of climbing uphill when Guillermo offered to show me a mummy tomb. I did not actually believe that they were there. These types of archeological treasures usually end up in museums or stolen by ladrones. I hauled my butt up the rocky hillside to see said mummies. Sure enough, there was a tomb containing at least 6 mummies. What a powerful sight. Some of the mummies were preserved well enough that you could see skin and tonails on their feet. They were very small indicating some of them were children. Their skulls were also oblong from intentional mutation. I am not sure if they did this for asthetic reasons, spirtual or other.

We continued on and made it almost to the canteras where there is a doorway to the sun through which you can view the Veronicas. I was sad that we did not make it all the way up but so thankful that we were treated with one of the best evenings I have had on the way down. We stopped in the tiny village of Cachicata where Guilleillrmo grew up and still has relatives. We drank Chica (homemade corn beer) and played with the local kids who took photos with our cameras of the entire evening. The kids were so friendly and affectionate. They wanted us to stay and play and hug so bad. It was beautiful.

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