Peru has become a dream destination for every bag-packer and adventure-seeker because of its ancient trails. These trails have been paved over thousands of years and let one experience the distinct culture, rich history and enchanting views of Peru. Tales of trekking across the sacred valley and the ancient Inca Trail towards the ruins of Machu Picchu have had the interest of thousands of tourists and hikers for decades, however, what only a few have discovered is the trails across the pristine Andean high mountain ranges. Ausangate Trail in Southern Peru is one such trail which offers one of a kind experience. If a high-altitude trek encircling a beautiful snow-capped alpine mount, across pastoral valleys and along tranquil lakes makes an adventure for you, Ausangate Trek should be your next hike!
Cusco’s Hidden Treasure
Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known well as the capital of the ancient Inca Empire and home to Peru’s diverse cultural evolution and a prolific heritage. However, it hosts a hidden treasure for the bag-packers; the Ausangate Trail. Towards the south-east of the main city of Cusco lies the alpine mountain range of Cordillera Vilcanota. This highest peak of this Andean range is known as the Ausangate Apu – a Quechua mountain deity watching over the region of Cusco. The peak is 6,372 meters above the sea level and the hiking trail encircling this sacred mountain towards its summit is about 43 miles long.
The Ausangate Trek can be called Cusco’s hidden treasure because this high-altitude trail lets one breathe in the serenity of the Andean Alps yet a rare voyage for the thousands of bag-packers coming to Peru every year. Hiking along the highest trail in the Cusco region, one would find themselves making their way across the traditional, pastoral villages of South Peru, past some of the most alluring lakes and glaciers as well as soothing hot springs, with herds of llamas and pumas grazing in the wild, through the elevated passes with steep rises and descends towered by the impressive peaks blanketed under snow. It is the celestial beauty and tranquility of this trek that distinguishes it.
A Challenge of Its Own Kind!
The Ausangate Trek is a challenge of its own kind. It is a high-altitude trail around an alpine peak surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is a long and remote trail in the wild. Trekking at an average of 4000 meters above the sea level across rocky passes and glacial landscape is a laborious task, however, greatly rewarding. Altitude tends to take a toll on anyone or everyone. It is highly recommended to hike the Ausangate trail only if one is accustomed to such conditions and has the required levels of fitness and endurance to survive for as long as six days on the trail. The Ausangate Trek is not only the most elevated trail in Peru but it is very remote and the least tourist friendly facilities. It can challenge the adventure-seekers in the most uncertain ways. If you can take up this challenge and dare to seek adventure at such height then enthralling beauty and flavor of traditional Peruvian folk shall be your treat.
How and When to Trek the Ausangate?
It takes about six days on average to complete the Ausangate Trek which is aloft and far-off. There Is no requirement for acquiring a trekking permit as is the case with the Inca Trail. However, you should make bookings with an experienced and native hiking company only if you are opting for a guided tour. Bag-packers must not put too much weight on their shoulders; however, they must ensure to carry enough supplies to ensure their survival. It is important to carry enough aid to address an emergency situation in case of injury and having maps and satellite-powered GPS to help them navigate. An extra layer of warm gear and zero-degrees sleeping bag is a must for this trail. This long trek will take your through temporal and weather variations, so one should be prepared for the mountainous sunshine as well snowfall and some rain.
It is dry winter in the Southern Andean region between May and September. It is the best time to seek an adventure in the alpine mountains. A plus is that the Ausangate Trail is rather even during the peak trekking seasons in Peru. July is a highly recommended time for trekking the Ausangate because it has the driest weather with very low probability for precipitation. However, it is winter during this period in the Southern hemisphere, therefore, it is advisable to be prepared to deal with snowfall.
Guides Be The Saviors Along the Ausangate Trek!
Do it yourself be the mantra for many who have been to the most thrilling of adventures during their lifetime, but it is advisable to have a guided tour if you wish to pay homage to the Ausangate deity. The challenges that this trail poses are the exact reasons why you should not try to be your own hero when 6000 meters aloft in wild, lonely mountains. Having a guided tour rids you of worries about the supplies and emergency situations. The campsites are already decided, explored and readied for you and you can get all the logistical help that you need. Since only traditional pastoral villages can be found along the trail, a strong and troublesome language barrier exists. If you have a professional guide who is fluent in the local language, getting help from the natives would be easier. Having guides to your aid, you may not only have a worriless trekking experience midst snow-clad mountain, but you may be able to savor some centuries-old Peruvian food in the middle of nowhere too.
Unlike the Inca Trail, the Ausangate Trail takes you to lofty snow-capped alpine mountains in Southern Andes which have their stupendous beauty shadowing upon a whole civilization and much like the Salkantay Trail, it lets you breathe in the tranquility that perhaps a pilgrim endeavor for! There are stories in Cusco which are yet to be heard and Ausangate Trail tells them with thrill. Go for a guided trek today!