Machu Picchu

Early September 2017

With so much going on physically and emotionally, Andrew headed to the Coast to kite surf and Amanda stayed in Cusco to enjoy what the City had to offer.


Andrew writes: Having spent several hours on a bus to reach Cusco, I wasn’t very keen on spending 18-21 hours heading to the coast. I chose to fly, and with LCPeru the tickets were pretty inexpensive. The opportunity to travel to Paracas was wonderful. It was sad to go without Amanda, since not only does she enjoy kitesurfing, but I enjoy playing on the beach and ocean with her. I met some really wonderful people, including the whole crew at Kangaroo Kite. I had a lot of fun and ended up kiting 6 out of 8 days. I wish Amanda had been there to enjoy it with me, but hopefully we will return again soon together!


Amanda writes: After visiting Machu Picchu we both agreed that some time alone would do us some good. So Andrew hopped on a plane and headed to the Coast to kite surf for about 10 days. I stayed in Cusco in a lovely one bedroom apartment and enjoyed some sightseeing, yoga, meditation and cooking. We even had some friends from Vancouver in Cusco while we were here and I got to spend time with them including a sightseeing trip to a beautiful mountain called Rainbow Mountain, or Ausangate mountain by the locals.

Ausangate glacier & mountain and popped my 5,000 meter bubble. Ausangate is one of the most magnificent geologic features in the world. The mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. The painted Ausangate mountain is also considered to be holy and believed to be the deity of Cusco by local Peruvians. The glacier sits at 6384 meters. It is a site of daily worship and offerings by local citizens. Every year thousands of Quechua pilgrims visit the Ausangate Mountain for the Star Snow festival which takes place a week before the Corpus Christi feast. The local area is rich in geology, from uplifted granitic cliffs to glaciers which have eroded large valleys and the cretaceous limestone “forest” nearby. As you’ll see in my pictures looking to the side of the rainbow mountain the colours seem to go on forever.

The Andes are an incredibly complex mountain chain that extends along the western edge of the South American continent. The subduction of the Nazca plate underneath the South American plate initiated mountain building and uplift of the mountain range. This produced significant volcanism and the introduction of rare and varied mineralogy to the Andes Mountains. The reason we see the rainbow coloration in the stratigraphic layers of the Ausangate mountain is largely due to weathering and mineralogy. Red coloration of sedimentary layers often indicates iron oxide rust as a trace mineral. Similar to how a nail will rust and turn red when oxidized, sediments that are iron rich will change when exposed to oxygen and water. This, in combination with uplift and tectonically driven crustal shortening has tilted the sedimentary layers on their side exposing stripped stratigraphic intervals. The different coloration is due to different environmental conditions and mineralogy when the sediment was originally deposited and subsequently diagenetically altered. Introduction of goethite or oxidized limonite will introduce a brownish coloration to sandstones. The bright yellow coloration could be due to iron sulphide as trace minerals within the pore cement. In addition, chlorite will often color sediments varying shades of green dependent on diagenetic history and concentration. As your eye scans the many layers of the Peruvian Painted Mountain you’re seeing millions of years of history and all the complexities that are associated therein. Understanding the environmental and geologic conditions that formed the rock units we see today is one of the key building blocks of geology and allow us to better understand our world long before humans walked this green Earth. It was amazing!

I also enjoyed exploring ruins outside the City and doing some tours in town too. Nici and Philip arrived and I shared a burger with them and continued to enjoy my ‘me’ time.


Today’s Photographs

There are a lot of photos! At the bottom of the photos on the left hand corner you can press “older photos” to see more. And you might even need to press “older photos” a couple of times to see them all. text

Machu Picchu