Backyard View, Nevado Salkantay
Soraypampa, Cordillera Vilcabamba, Peru
I did not anticipate hiking through and camping on so much inhabited land during the first few days of an extended trek that ended at Machu Picchu, but I enjoyed that aspect as much as anything else on the journey. While this particular dwelling at about 12,600' seems to have fallen into a bit of disrepair, others nearby have not, and some have been inhabited continuously since the time of the Incas. Cattle and horses dot the landscape, grazing both in the valley and on the steep hillsides. Is there a Quechua word for "wilderness?" Probably not. To them, "wilderness" is likelyas abstract an idea as it is unnecessary. People in the Willkapampa mountain range (Cordillera Vilcabamba) live with the land and not just on it. Photo © copyright by Greg Owens.