The day before we set out on our trek through Ausangate, our local guide, Fabian, and his wife, Patricia, held a ceremony for us at their home in Ocongate. They were asking the mountain spirit, Apu Ausangate, for safe passage.

We turned back from our circuit attempt due to heavy rains, which made travel slow for the group. However, rain was only part of the story. In between showers, we were blessed with incredible views of jagged glaciated peaks and glimpses of the elusive vicuña, a wild relative of llamas and alpacas that graze the high peaks.

Apu Ausangate kept us safe while we trod along its flanks. Apu Ausangate communicated to us through rain and wind that we were not to pass in certain places at this time.

We are now back in Ocongate and have all enjoyed an unanticipated day of rest and lukewarm showers. As luck (or Apu Ausangate) would have it, yesterday was the annual Tupay Tinkuy festival in Ocongate. A beautiful display of traditional dance and dress, hundreds of people from surrounding communities came down to Ocongate to display their talents in the streets and at a competition at the local stadium.

We are now preparing for our 5-day journey into Nacion Q’eros, accompanied by our beloved local guide (and Q’ero native), Fabian and his son, Juan Carlos. We will be back in touch after we return to Cusco on Friday evening, Feb. 26th.

Enjoy the group photo from the highest pass we crossed in Ausangate.

Urpichay sonqollay, Apu Ausangate.

Gracias, Apu Ausangate, por dejarnos pasar.

Thank you, Apu Ausangate, for allowing us to pass through, even if for just a brief moment.