Back to the Buses!

The sky started to change as the snow rolled in over the mountains. Our guide was hustling around telling people to head back down to the buses and herding everyone in groups to make sure no one was left behind. Chris and I took a moment, looked at each other, closed our eyes, and breathed in the cool mountain air. As we opened our eyes, we said goodbye to the beautiful rainbows ahead of us and started walking back toward the buses feeling forever grateful to have experienced such a wonder. These mountains had just been recently discovered when we visited in 2017 due to glacial melt and no one knew they existed. The exact date of discovery is unknown yet some say it may have been sometime between 2012 to 2015. We were blessed to have seen them near the beginning of the hype. As you can see in our photos from my Rainbow Mountains blog…there were a lot of people. I wonder if there are even more traveling there today.

As we walked back, we reflected on how fortunate we were to get the pictures of each other in front of the mountain. The snow came in quickly and we had already changed into our snow attire. I was so happy to have had my gloves because my hands get super cold. As an artist, I am very protective of my hands and fingers. We walked back at a faster pace due to the wonderful down hill gradient. I got to really look around and enjoy the things I missed on the way up. I saw men and women resting their horses and chatting with one another. We spied some more llamas grazing on the mountain in the distance. We counted how long it was until we came upon tree growth again. So many people were still traveling up the mountain and the horses were still working very hard to get them there. After an hour we came to the parking lot where the buses were and were thankful to finally sit down. The taxi was super tiny so we were happy to have really tall seats to sit in.

This did not last long! We were told to get off the bus and that we were on the wrong one. We looked at each other and thought, oh no, we are going to get left again. Chris told the guide no, we are staying on until you tell us where to go and we see our name on a clipboard. So after much discussion we were rerouted to another bus and that was not the right one either. At this point Chris was super frustrated, and we just wanted to make sure we would get back to Cusco. Just as Goldilocks needed a third time for everything in her world, we headed to the third bus. We sat, held hands, and fell asleep. The driver had been going for about an hour when we were suddenly startled awake. A woman started shouting “Chris and Karen are you on the bus?” over and over. Then, we woke up and said, yes! Then the bus started again and we were just shocked. What if we were not on that bus and why did they not check before we left? We just realized, this tourist attraction was so new at the time that they must have been working the kinks out. Any advice I could give you fellow travelers is…check the clipboard and don’t let any buses leave until you find your name!

Karen Hilliard Art Blog
Photo Taken at the end of our hike before we got back on our bus.

Thank you for reading and happy Wednesday!

-Karen Hilliard

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