|Day 4 had a promising start, a beautiful sunrise and clear skies! It was an easy hike, mostly downhill for 9km from 12,800' at Wayra Lodge to 9,500' at Colpa Lodge, mostly through beautiful cloud forest. It still took 5 hours to do the hike because we stopped along the way to enjoy the birds and orchids. As we descended, the temperature and the humidity rose so we were happy to be be greeted at the lodge with cold drinks and wash cloths! We arrived at the lodge at 2:00 pm, just in time to see our cook and helpers preparing our special lunch, a "pachamanca". Barbeque, Peruvian style. They start with a fire pit full of rocks, throw in potatoes, layer foil wrapped meat and veggies on top and then cover the whole thing with dirt. 35 minutes later, a feast appears out of the ground. And what a feast it was! Pam chose extra helpings of yams instead of cuy (guinea pig) but Dale said it was delicious, just like dark meat from chicken. Colpa lodge is another amazing lodge with views of the Santa Teresa River Valley, snow covered distant peaks and its own orchid garden. It also has a great hot tub, perfect for enjoying the view. After feasting, Pepe guided us through the orchid garden and then we enjoyed the views from the hot tub (cervezas in hand!). We had our second last history lesson on the Incas and the suspense is building! Pepe left us hanging, waiting for the final chapter tomorrow night. Pepe is a real character. We pegged him to be somewhere between Dale and Kevin's ages and he has been guiding trips in Peru for years (hiking, mountaineering, rafting, you name it). His father was an archaeologist so his knowledge of Peruvian and particularly Inca history is amazing. He also has full back country first aid training, he cooks, makes jewelry, grows vegetables and designs t-shirts (one of which we will be purchasing and picking up when we get back to Cusco). Oh, and he played the role of midwife and delivered one of his children. A real Peruvian renaissance man! Most importantly, he is a great guide and he made the trip even better. Our assistant guide, Lixaida is a wonderful contrast. She is freshly out of tourism school, is a mountaineer, is sweet and soft spoken and a delightful person to be around. We lucked out with the guides on this trip! After such a feast at lunch, we had what was suppose to be a "light" meal for dinner (but it looked pretty much the same as lunch did!) and once again enjoyed chocolates in bed, accompanies by our hot water bottles. We're below 10,000' now, hopeful sleeping will be easier!