This video will give you a general introduction to our babies born in 2016. For more detailed information on each baby please read their bio under their respective tab:)
A total of nine babies were born last year between May and September 🙂
DOB: not sure, he was first spotted on 14/05/2016 probably at only a few day’s old then! Mother: Dolly Father: not sure, Dolly has had three different partners this season ( 2017 ) alone and all her kids are likely to be fathered by different males both within and without her troop and as such it would be impossible to say who Baty’s father is ! Indeed all female rhesus macaques are _____ when it comes to sex ! Characteristics: Bat ears and big round eyes. He has the most beautiful auburn coat of all the babies born in 2016, at one point I thought it’s bright orange !
I love Baty and I think he was the cutest baby at birth with his big protruding ears, small face and big round eyes ! He really stole my heart then as he lay so helplessly by Dolly’s feet, struggling to try to prop himself up and to cling onto mum 🙂
His first video attracted lots of heated discussion as to the cause of his possible weakness and most viewers were rooting for him despite their difference in opinions. His strength picked up pretty fast and within 2 weeks or so he was more or less on his feet, doing what most monkeys do – monkeying around !
He was very clingy to start off with and was nursing almost constantly. he was just as bad as Dopey then 🙂 Dolly did try to interrupt his nursing from time to time but she normally caved in as soon as she tried it.
Dolly was a very patient mum but weaning did finally phase in by mid September ( so Baty was about 4 months old then ) and wow ! Baty threw one of the most dramatic tantrums I have ever seen ! It was funny but at the same time gutting as he was really hurt by mum’s sudden change 🙁
Poor Baty but you’ve a full set of baby teeth already !
Since then Baty has grown more independent by the day and began to hang around with his siblings more in the woods than on the ground with mum until to a point when I could no longer spot him unless he comes down to find Dolly for his official nursing session – which I have observed at least happens twice a day for all the babies. It is quite a scene to watch all the mothers in our gang nursing almost all at the same time – and visiting Monkey Hill at or after 1600 will give one a good chance to see it. It’s incredible and really heart warming to watch 🙂
There is something admirable about Dolly’s school of raising kids. She’s tender and kind when necessary but firm with a no nonsense attitude when it’s time to call for some discipline. Baty is really one of the first babies to learn to forage in the wild for berries and other leaves to eat from the batch !
How unfortunate that Baty had grown out of his baby look by about 5 months of age otherwise he would still be one of the cutest babies around !
DOB: not sure, like Baty he was first spotted on 14/05/2016 but he looked already about a week old then. Mother: Haggy Father: not sure we need to run some DNA profiling. Any volunteer to collect semen samples from all the males ? Characteristics: He doesn’t really stand out and I know very little about him 🙁
Nony is unfortunate when it comes to fame. He was first mixed up with Baty and eclipsed by him in his very first video appearances.
The second time I met him he’s already a bit older and had lost quite a bit of his baby charm 🙁 and at that time I was too engrossed with Baty to keep an eye on him 🙁
I had since forgotten what he really looked like and when he returned later and popped up a few appearances in subsequent videos he was heartlessly referred to by me as the unnamed baby, my bad 🙁
But everything works itself out without my help especially when it comes to Haggy who’s a very experienced mum with a few older kids to boast under her belt already. Nony is now a healthy young boy and as we speak will soon celebrate his first year of existence in Monkey Hill !
Bossy Jr. ♀
DOB: not sure, first spotted around 21 May 2016 and she’s at least a few days old then Mother: Bossy Father: I’m pretty sure Grandee is her father. Bossy being the matriarch only takes quality males so it seems ! Characteristics: big-boned just like her mum. She also has big pointy ears as well. She is really brave and at times behaves like a daredevil. She loves to play with a stick and is often seen with one in her hands.
Bossy Jr. is one of my major blunder for I always thought she was a boy ever since I first met her and thinking back I probably had mixed her up with another baby with a big pecker from another troop. Hence in all my early videos Bossy Jr. has been referred to as a boy incorrectly !
But as she’s a tomboy I think as a name Boosy Jr quite aptly describes her. Being the youngest daughter of Bossy she’s next in line to the throne in the succession and though it may seems quite incredulous she’s actually the second most powerful female in the troop !
She’s very athletic and strong and if she really means it she could beat the crap out of even older babies like Baty or Nony. She loves to play and if no one of comparable age is around she’ll often find herself a stick and start playing with it.
Despite her innate high status she doesn’t seem to pull rank and it fact she sometimes get bullied herself from the least expected baby – Dopey who’s tiny but maybe Bossy Jr. has taken a liking to him as he’s quite good-looking 🙂 or she just misses to have a little brother to play with ! In either case she’s really sweet and I grow to like her a lot. In my weekly hike to Monkey Hill the babies I really want to bump into are Dopey, Knotty, Bossy Jr. and Baty. I often feel something’s incomplete if I miss any one of them 🙁
As the youngest daughter of the alpha female it seems Bossy wants her to be on her feet asap and in fact she’s the earliest baby to have weaning attempted in the troop at the tender age of just over 2 months ! She did put up a good fight against the attempt and Bossy did cave in !
As she grows she bears an uncanny resemblance to one of the alpha males Grandee and as time passes I think I really could say with confidence that Grandee is her father indeed !
She has a good mother Bossy but I think she’s taking her on too many unnecessary adventures and I fear for her safety if she tries to imitate what her mum does with cars – she is really too young to do something that daring !
Everyone in her family dotes on her and some may even suck on her as she’s second only to Bossy in status ! Her best mate is one of Bossy’s older daughter ( with an injured left eye ) who always jump to her defence !
DOB: not sure, first spotted around 21 May 2016 as Bossy Jr except Lilly looked a bit younger though. Mother: Aggy aka The Baby-Snatcher Father: god knows ! Characteristics: she’s petite like her mum and very clingy. She really has no other features that stand her apart except sometimes I could tell it’s her with her rather fluffy tail, more squirrel like than any other babies !
I thought I had only met her later in life but in actual fact she was spotted a lot earlier when she was still a tiny baby.
At one point I was even suspecting she was a kidnapped baby because of Aggy’s apparently poor reputation in the past. In all fairness Aggy was probably a bit too aggressive with aunting, unlike long-tailed macaques rhesus females are not known to kidnap to kill.
I wouldn’t have made those postulations had I bothered to check older footage for evidence 🙁
Lilly is known to be very emotional demanding and would coo for Aggy’s attention if she doesn’t see her around. She gets extremely jealous if mum pays any attention to other babies.
She loves to climb but seems to get herself into trouble high up in the act.
Like her mum she’s a bit of a maverick and doesn’t seem to mingle with other babies. She however does take to Granny who actually has been looking after her since the very first day she was born.
DOB: Knotty was first spotted on 29/05/2016 when he was only a few days old Mother: Gypsy Father: probably an outsider as his ears are really unique Characteristics: those huge oddly shaped ears – they look like someone has tied a huge knot on his head 🙁 and his beautiful auburn coat, a shade darker than Baty’s. His coo is always so pitiful and so distinguishable you know its him nearby hiding in the woods.
Knotty is one of my two favourite babies. He has the saddest looking little face of any babies there and he looks like he’s on the verge of crying his eyes out all the time and I don’t blame him for he has a really disjointed upbringing so far and that coupled with the fact he has inherited his mum’s low status in the troop life must be hard on him until the day he leaves and hopefully starts a better independent life as a bachelor 🙁
Gypsy’s a bit of an odd mother and sometimes verges on being a negligent one too. She really tried to wean Knotty too early – when he’s barely over a month’s old and has since been in the habit of leaving him behind in the care of the many spinsters in the troop while she is foraging, always a long way away and for a long period of time too.
Little Knotty’s always longing for his mum’s return since day 1 and you could see it on his face – it’s just pure sadness but he’s such a good boy he never makes much fuss, even when he’s hungry and above all in want of some love and security, the two things most important for any baby, and even more so for someone as delicate as Knotty 🙁 He often just hides in the corner and lets thing pass….
I suppose Gypsy’s uneasiness with nursing doesn’t help either. She probably doesn’t like much physical contact and she tries to do the bare minimum to keep her baby afloat only. Kudos to the excellent childcare service provided by the large number of spinsters and infertile females in the troop her babies have so far made it and under their belt Gypsy has at least three kids of various age. So for once the sterilisation program has an unexpected merit in it for these monkeys but at a hefty premium.
But there’s no denying to the fact that Knotty is undernourished, he’s really a bit small and too scrawny for his age and before I re-examined older footage of him popping up here and there I had always thought he was born just a tad earlier than Dopey and Mickey – and how wrong, he’s actually one of the older babies around but his statue is more like that of a younger baby 🙁 I hope this wouldn’t hamstring him in the future but it seems a baby cut off milk too early in life never reaches proper size in adulthood, one example is Stumpy the orphaned monkey who had a rough childhood and left to fend for himself – he never really quite reaches adult size and he never develops those proper deadly looking canines so important in fighting. I suppose the lack of diary calcium early in life might be the cause.
Nevertheless Knotty has managed to grow into a rather lively boy – and indeed another good thing that comes out from leading a very independent life so early is that he’s a very resourceful baby and smart as well. He outdoes all other babies in the IQ department except Dopey ( there will be video on this later ). I hope once he has weaned completely he will leave this pitiful chapter in his life and turn over a new leaf. He really has real potential, smart, agile and good looking ( I’m biased here ) and above all, something often lacking in most adult males – a sense of caution. He will never put himself into danger and I have yet to find Knotty being nosey enough to wander into one. He’s always the first baby to flee even before it becomes apparent to others !
At least the babies are not snobbish, despite his low status Knotty could count on Mickey, Dopey ( though Dopey bullies him sometimes, actually he bullies everyone LOL ) and Buddy as friends. I hope their friendship will remain for they would need it once they have to leave the troop in 3 to 4 years’ time. Studies have shown that bachelors will survive and do better together.
But for now Knotty will still need Gypsy’s attentions and for that he has even endured many ” grooming ” sessions of hair-plucking with Gypsy ( yes she’s rather hopeless at it ) – so as to be able to cuddle mum whom he adores and loves and if lucky enough he could get a few suckles. I just hope he won’t be left with patches of alopecia by the time he has grown out of this longing for her !
DOB: he was first noticed towards the end of July last year and he already looked at least a few weeks old then Mother: Dorothy Father: not sure but could be the same as Mickey’s as they’re both born with really dark hair ! Characteristics: he’s really what an all-rounder would look like for a monkey baby. His telling features are his piercing gaze and a conspicuous small notch on his hairline in the middle.
I really know very little about this baby as he’s never really been featured in any of my videos and in the few appearances he made they only last for a few seconds here and there at most.
He is however a product of miraculous conception for his mum the high-ranking Dorothy had had her fallopian tubes ligated back at the latest in 2011. I suppose the vet had botched the operation or perhaps a monkey’s prayer might finally have been heard !
He is unusual amongst the babies to be a regular playmate of Lilly. They are both quite fiery and I suppose they see most things together eye-to-eye 🙂 and click !
DOB: a really wild guess here as she didn’t get noticed until late in November last year when it was a bit late…. DOD: around the 24th of November 2016 🙁 Mother: Lancy Father: God knows Characteristics: Big dark eyes like those aliens in Roswell. Cousin to Nony, Buddy and Mickey. One of the three girls in this batch of babies from 2016.
I even know less about this unfortunate baby girl who died probably from a fall a day or so before 24th November last year in this episode:(
Poor girl RIP, her death is a devastating blow to the survival of the troop !
Before that I had only briefly caught her with mum and Lizzy and Reddy chilling out on a table…
She probably was about 5 months old when she died. Those dark dreamy eyes would no longer sparkle….
DOB: 1/08/2016 Mother: Reddy Father: Reddy is too promiscuous to tell. Alimony is out of question here. Characteristics: Dopey has the most angelic face of all the babies born last year. Fine and well balanced his facial features are really quite human-like to me. His big round eyes were sort of cloudy bluish green to begin with and now they are more of a dirty green in colour but exceptionally clear and reflective that really stand him out in the crowd ! He still is a bit small for his age and as we speak at the age of 9 months is just a tad bigger than a medium-size ( 500 ml ) can of soft drinks only.
Dopey struggling since day 1
Dopey is not stupid, he just seems to doze off readily ever since he was born. Reddy’s milk seems to be laced and when he has her teat in his mouth his eyes would cross and he would lose consciousness in a tick 🙂
He’s probably the clumsiest baby in the batch – all the other babies could begin to walk after a few days ( Mickey could walk unsteadily on day 2 of his life ) to a week ( Baty took a bit longer but could walk more or less after week 1 ) but poor lil Dopey took almost 3 weeks to finally graduate from crawling to walking on all four but then he still wobbled a bit and fell easily until he’s about 6 weeks old ! His disproportionally big feet might have a part to play in this as he seemed to step onto himself often 🙂 and this had gotten him into a lot of silly mishaps too especially he is nosey as hell !
But walk he did and finally something must have flipped !
Dopey also seems to tire easily ( though less so nowadays as he has moved to a more solid diet and spends less time nursing ) as he is often found more than the other babies in a state of stupor with Reddy’s sole working teat in his mouth. His longest milk coma during daytime lasted for a good 30 minutes on record and as it seemed at one point he wasn’t getting any better with it many viewers began to worry too and it soon transpired that Reddy had actually lost two babies back to back as I was alerted to examine some previous footage that had Reddy in it.
An early tentative postulation….
If the cause is genetic it looks more likely to be a form of muscular dystrophies like Duchenne to me ( not Gaucher or other forms of lysosomal storage diseases as I had suggested on the spur of the moment ) but as time passes I don’t agree with the conclusion as much as I used to and I think his condition reflected more of the plight of babies born outside the major fruiting season – he’s constantly teetering between starvation and getting nourishment – he couldn’t be weaned early as food is hard to come by even for Reddy but the amount and quality of milk available to him was simply inadequate. He just got himself worked out often trying to get what meagre there was from Reddy’s sole working teat, no wonder he’s not as energetic as other babies in the batch and being one who’s clumsy and late in development didn’t help either to stay ahead of the game.
But he’s blessed with a very loving mum Reddy whose patience and legendary tolerance has paid off.
He is still around with us as we speak ( forget all those malicious rumours ) and he has grown out of all his clumsiness to become one lively boy, albeit still a bit on the small size, just like lil Knotty.
Dopey is clever ( only Knotty is comparable ) and some even think he’s manipulative at times when it comes to Reddy but kids all do with their mum, right ? And Reddy having a very insensitive ( the constant stretching can’t be good ) nipple invites her baby to take advantage of it and I hardly think Dopey’s the first one nor the last one to do so.
but his good time won’t last for long 🙂
One thing that has surprised everyone is that Dopey doesn’t conform to the hierarchy. Small in statute and hardly high ranking he constantly bullies ( in a playful way ) and try to domineer ! Not a single baby hadn’t had a run with him and the list includes Bossy Jr, Buddy, Lilly, Mickey and even some older kids who are bigger and a lot higher in ranking than him ! It seems there’s no such word as fear or respect in his book and if there is a game changer in the monkey society that would be our little Dopey ( provided that he didn’t get killed ! )
https://youtu.be/YiKqd2RTEI0?t=119 He’s fearless and fights well !
Well I think that’s enough about our lil Dopey for now !
DOB: exactly on the first of September 2016 Mother: Lizzy Father: I suspect it’s the same as Buddy’s but in one word, god knows ! Characteristics: Don’t let his big frame fools you – he’s actually the youngest baby in the batch. He is easily distinguishable by his dark coat, almost like a chimpanzee’s ! The other give away is he loves to hang around with Dopey and if you see either one you know who the other one is 90 % of the time !
Mickey is so called because he looks like a mouse when he’s born. Like Buddy he has inherited some good genes to start off with – strong and agile, he could almost walk the day he’s born and outdid Dopey in every motor development by week 4 ! He’s the ultimate survivor in the batch !
Despite being born also outside the major fruiting season he seemed to have no problem getting nourished whatsoever. I suppose having a high ranking mum ( who could serve and lay claim to handouts as well as any finds first ) and at least four older siblings do help as well as access to two large jugs of milk !
But he isn’t as big in the cerebral department – he seems to be a bit thick at times and he certainly doesn’t have as much tricks up his sleeve like Dopey does. But he’s powerful and there’s no denying to this as he could dislodge bigger and older babies like Bossy Jr. easily and I suspect he’s probably the strongest baby in the batch despite being the youngest !
He is quite a brute !
He and Dopey seems to have been made for each other – Dopey has the brain while Mickey has the strength and I very much hope so they’d remain best pal together and help each other out the day they have to lead an independent life outside the troop !
There are about 40 to 50 individuals in this moderately-sized troop, including babies. They are led by a matriarch and a few ɑ males who wield absolute power as they live in an unfortunately despotic society, a bit like the Chinese and North Koreans.
The matriarch is Bossy , she is strong, big and bossy and a real daredevil. she is fair in disciplinary matters as far as macaques are concerned. She would readily lash out at anyone who try to come too near to her troop members, particularly the juveniles and the babies. At times she would intervene if a baby is being neglected by their mother. She is over 15 years old in my opinion ( in the wild macaques could live up to 20 to 25 years at most ) and has many offspring. Her youngest baby is Bossy Jr. whom for some reason has been mistaken by me to be a boy from the very beginning. As the youngest female in the matrilineal line she is the next most powerful female in the troop after Bossy 🙂
There are three ɑ males in this troop and they used to be more or less co-dominant but nowadays it seems the younger one of them has finally outdone the other two by his sheer strength and has become the de facto ɑ. He is buff, proud and really full of himself. He will readily leash out at anyone, including a baby who is in his way ! His name is Cocky for he sure looks like so 🙂
The next in line is an older male with a rather long face and a prominent and notched philtrum. He also has what looks to me like a right wrist drop and a middle finger on that hand that is permanently stuck out. He is kind to babies and I have yet to see him being nasty to them. He probably has mellowed in his older age and as such he will be known as Grandee from now on !
Below him is another male with similar facial features and abnormality of the right hand. His mouth is always slightly ajar and he always looks a bit spaced out to me. He’s probably related to Grandee and I suspect they were brothers and best pals since day one and had been fighting and working together to get to where they are now since they had left their mother’s troop to become independent many years ago. He will be known as Bleary.
We had seen him in my early videos before I got to know this troop. Yes, he’s the one with the radio collar, poorly fitted on his neck and he always looks uncomfortable with it. He’s very gentle and never bothers any babies. He always tags along with a younger petite female and they are probably lovers. For those who has been following my videos for a while he’s sometimes been referred to as Taggy and so be it for his name !
There are some drifter males who sometimes tag along with our gang but they almost always disappear when there isn’t much happening 🙂 or they just fail to sneak in for a quickie during the mating season !
The lesser mothers
There are about 20 odd adult females of reproductive age forming the backbone in Bossy’s troop. As they all rank below Bossy I’ll conveniently lump them together as the lesser female group. I don’t really know all of them and the ones I know better are all mothers except a few. They will be listed in descending order of their ranking within this group in the troop.
Aggy was once known as the Baby Snatcher for she was seen holding onto a baby against its wish on two occasions over a period of two weeks in late fall 2015. Thinking back she was just aunting quite aggressively then as she was probably about to go into heat. She’s the youngest mother ( I think she’s just over 5 year’s old ) in the troop with her first baby, Lilly born around late May 2016. She’s extremely fit and agile but she doesn’t seem to lead nor mingle too much and when she does so She seems to upset more by trying to grab and aunt their babies ! Her best pal is one elderly spinster, Granny.
Aunting : aka alloparenting is the provision of childcare by a member other than the biological mother in a group of animals.
Her aggressive aunting did lead to misunderstanding in the beginning. Unlike long-tailed macaques which kidnap to kill to maintain superiority of the dominant matriline rhesus have not been reported to do so.
Gravidity and Parity – just a nerdy way to denote obstetric history – Gravida, the number of times a female has been pregnant; Para, the number of times a birth has resulted from such pregnancies, viable or not.
Dorothy, as her name suggests ( Δωροθέα (Dōrothéa) meaning “God’s Gift” ) is blessed with something she is entitled to and she manages to keep it – her fertility. Indeed she was sterilised quite a few years back but somehow the vet had botched the operation and she has at least given birth to a baby boy, named Buddy between late June and July 2016. She resembles Bossy and is just as big boned. I guess she’s quite old and if she’s related to Bossy she would be at least 16 years old ( in most macaque society the younger female ranks higher than her older sibling ).
Lancy, a slender elegant female whom I know very little about even now and I only came to notice her first following the death of her baby girl in autumn last year ( 2016 ). Suffice to say she’s a high ranking female in this group of lesser females and if any female is going to become a mother again this year she’s well poised to it.
Her baby died probably from a fall 🙁
Lizzy, mother to little Mickey, the youngest baby from 2016 in the troop is probably related to Lancy as they both look quite alike. She is a very successful mother and had at least raised four older kids already !
Mickey was born exactly on the first day of September last year !
Haggy, so named as she always looks haggard to me, poor old girl. She is mother to another baby whom I know very little about and has always been referred to as the unnamed baby all the time. I suppose it’s fair to give him a name as he can’t remain anonymous all the time. I suppose Nony would do then ! If you examine her face she probably is an older sister of Lizzy hence Lancy too and in real life they do like to hang around together.
Reddy, she’s one of the most loving and caring mothers I’ve ever seen and she also takes to other babies readily. She is one of the younger mothers around and I think she’s between 7 to 8 year’s old. She had lost two babies previously back-to-back and now she seems to be taking extra care towards Dopey, her baby born last August ( 2016 ) and sometimes she seems to be even too doting on him and giving in to his needs too readily. Rest assured, Dopey is beginning to wean as we speak and we’ll see less of Reddy’s sole working nipple being stretched all the time by Dopey 🙂 Yes, it does need a rest too !
Dolly, she’s an older sister of Reddy I think as they resemble each other. She is a very experienced mother and has at least raised 3 kids already. She is mum to Baty, the very first baby born to this troop late last May. She is always rather fluffy but in her summer coat you’d see she actually is not as chubby as she appears to be !
Gypsy, the lowest ranking mother in the troop. She’s a bit like an untouchable as she not only gets bullied all the time she is not allowed near any goodies before others and by then there is normally none or only scraps left for her and other similarly lower ranking members of the troop. She is mum to Knotty who was born in late May last year and she has been trying her best in my opinion to care for her baby given her circumstances. But there is no denying to the fact that she had weaned little Knotty a bit too early though 🙁 In all fairness she does care about Knotty as I had seen her fighting Cocky for trying to bite lil Knotty before !
She did seem neglectful but she’s hungry herself as the registered old man who comes to feed them regularly had gone missing for a few weeks in a row !
These are some females whom I had introduced before in my videos, all are spinsters they are all low ranking but still rank higher than Gypsy ! Now you know her plight 🙁
Nellie is an old-timer with her cataract-induced iritis in her left eye but she’s not as ancient as she appears to be as I still see her flirt with Grandee during the mating season which falls between December to February every year. She however appears to be childless and I suspect she probably has problems conceiving. Like Gypsy she’s also low-ranking she just doesn’t get picked upon as often by others.
That’s how I first met old Nellie, deserted all by herself on the road….
Tammy, She is the only monkey who sidles up to me voluntarily and lets me pet her ! She’s also childless and she hangs around with a group of spinster who aunt and look after other babies in the troop.
Aunty, she’s a bit of a mystery as she seems to keep her distance from Bossy’s troop but does get involved a lot with babysitting. She is Knotty’s no. 1 aunt especially when he’s still very little. I really like her as she seems to try to answer to Knotty’s distress call if she happens to be nearby ! Another spinster she also appears to be childless.
That’s how I first came to meet her !
Granny, she recently came to my attention as the oldest female on Golden Hill Road as well as being a drifter almost all her adult life so I was told. Checking back some old footage she did appear to pop up from time to time with Bossy’s troop and she is especially associated with Aggy now that I make an effort to notice her though I see no resemblance between the two. Blinded in one eye and childless she is a bit slow but still agile enough to get out of any trouble. She ranks higher than Gypsy probably through her connection with Aggy !
The winner takes all and no descent is allowed. It’s unfair, it sometimes seems heartless and plain wrong but that’s the way it is and there is no point to get too upset about how their society is run !
For more information on the batch of babies from 2016 please follow this link.
The High Alpine Approach to the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu
The Classic Inca Trail is overrated and over-subscribed.
It’s still worth doing if you could manage to get a permit as only 500 people ( including guides, cooks and porters ) are allowed on the trail each day – which is still a lot in my opinion.
A popular alternative nowadays is Salkantay Trek – which strictly speaking is a misnomer as the original one refers to the high alpine approach via Inca Chiriasqa Pass ( 4,950 m a.s.l.) that skips the the more rural and less scenic part of the Classic Inca Trail and joins it only after the village of Wayllapampa and as such would be subjected to the same quota system and the same restrictions as the Classic Inca Trail.
Inca Trail &Salkantay Trek
What the trek now popularly advertised in Cusco ( where most tours operators are located ) refers to is a mishmash of three trails and should be properly called Mollepata – Salkantay – Santa Teresa Trek which culminates at Machu Picchu typically on Day 5 of the trek.
There is only one high mountain pass involved, uninspiringly called Salkantay Pass at 4,580 m at the shoulder of the majestic Salkantay massif, the rest is mostly downhill and level and is usually substituted with some form of transport where the trail is no more than a glorified rural dirt road. The route is often described as a “ back door “ approach to Machu Picchu as it arrives at the official access town to Machu Picchu, Agua Calientes from the west, passing the Inca ruins below first along the river Rio Urubamba.
The trek is not only less strenuous compared to its Classic counterpart but it also draws less people and you are less likely to camp amidst crowds of other trekkers on the way. Scenic-wise it’s wilder and more spectacular as you will not only traverse plenty of cloud forest but also a proper glacial landscape and an alpine tundra with a tropical jungle valley all thrown in on the first 2 days of the trek, it’s just mind-bogglingly varied !
But to me the best thing really is to have a proper rest in a town with modern amenities the night before visiting Machu Picchu as I found myself all worn-out by the time I got to Machu Picchu on the Classic Inca Trail and didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I’d thought after all the efforts.
Arriving at Cusco fresh and overwhelmed by its sight and sound ?
So next time if you fly into Cusco clueless with what to do for the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu and is gutted to learn that the Classic Inca Trail is all booked out till the following summer the alternative Mollepata – Salkantay – Santa Teresa Trek is actually not a bad substitution and you could save yourself some money to spend on lodgings, meals and booze while getting to see the awesome Inca citadel as well !
This is what I’d like to do with all my collection of 360° panoramas from different treks I’d done in the past. Combining different forms of photography the visual impact is more compelling and gripping in my opinion.
For a synopsis of the trek please watch this video before you embark with me on this 5D4N adventure 🙂
Get the most from this Google Earth 3D reconstruction of the trail we are about to take !