Saturday, 20 September 2008
I have managed to upload some trek photos. It was a tremendous experience, though not without its difficulties.The nights were very very cold, dropping to sub zero temperatures and even thermals, clothes and a very warm sleeping bag made little difference.Trekking uphill with the altitude(12,000 feet)was not always easy but I was fortunate and had no symptoms of the altitude sickness everyone dreads.Many had severe headaches, nausea, vomiting and one girl had to be taken back down to base camp. I am not fond of camping so for me that aspect of it was the worst though a pleasant surprise was the hot cup of tea brought to the tent every morning after wake up call at 6.30 am.The porters and kitchen staff did a marvellous job preparing good food in such adverse conditions, a meal without dairy and meat seemed to afford themm no problem ( I was the only non meat eater on the trek)Quinoa was used a lot to make porridge and savoury sauces,its a high protein grain very popular in Peru.I was also pleased to see that the pack horses were in good condition and were limited to the weight they carried, they were turned loose to graze at every camp and if we stopped for a rest, they did also. A stray village dog accompanied us the whole trek and he was fed scraps by myself and another girl , our guide said he often accompanies the trips and at the finish he went back with the horses to his village, no doubt to wait for the next group of trekkers! He certainly was well fed and seemed to be happy with his lot in life. On the last day at the last village we passed through, gifts of pens and small toys were presented to the children who live very simple lives in the mountains and only see such things when visitors arrive.It was quite an emotional moment.
The stray dog problem in Cusco was quite horrendous but again most were well fed, nevertheless I wished there was an organisation neutering and spaying them.there are groups in other parts of Peru but nothing in Cusco as far as I could make out.
All in all I was pleased with my achievement but glad to be sleeping in my own bed again.So far I have raised £2,100 for Freshfields but there is some money yet to come in and there should be another £200 to put in the kitty.
I would just like to make a comment about this type of fundraising, it seems some people think it is a way of having an exotic holiday paid for by a charity.This is not the case,the trip does have to be paid for but I paid more than half the costs out of my own pocket in order that more of the money went directly to Freshfields.The sum i mentioned is the total raised, with the trip cost deducted so its a fair sum and one I personally would have been unable to raise any other way. Another thing is that this was most definitely NOT my idea of a holiday! Make no mistake it was hard going and at times very difficult.
On my return, I of course was given the news that Muffin had died which was very distressing, then I had to make a decisiuon, a very hard decision to have another of the horses put to sleep, she was in such pain, I felt it wrong to keep her going any longer. I always question myself but in my heart I know that it was the right thing to do. Poor old Tanya.Its been a bad year for losing horses this year.
A new little dog was here when I arrived back, a chinese crested powder puff- for those who dont know this breed they are hairless with just tufts of hair and many people think are very ugly.I love them and have had 2 in the past. This one, however was fluffy coated, I was told many years ago (not sure if its true)that in every litter of Chinese Crested pups, there is one with hair. Andy came in with a lovely 10 years old cross lab called Sinead, both are lovely amiable animals and the little one has gone to a home today.I am not surprised, he is a dear little dog.Heres hoping his pal will find someone nice too.