In Peru, Jeff Fuchs led Team Outpost across the Salkantay Trek in the Andes and the highlands of Tanta in central Peru, and south to the communities of the Quechua people—pack-llamas in tow, tea at the ready. WATCH our web series “In From the Outpost PERU with Jeff Fuchs,” then read Jeff’s stories about the spirit of ayni, and the people who’ve thrived here for millennia.
EPISODE 1: The Salkantay Trek. “We tread upwards as wind starts to whistle and pellets of ice snap and pop against our bodies…Lungs are nicely straining, and one of the mountains’ great and ever-present lessons is reinforced: cooperate or perish.”
EPISODE 2: Time with the Weavers of Chawaytiri. “We are just outside the Andean village of Chawaytiri…that sits at 12,000 feet in the highlands, just 50 kilometers from Cusco in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We are ascending—always it seems, we ascend. Amid the haze and the coca, the pathway beneath me looks brittle and almost decrepit. Maybe forgotten is the right word; it looks forgotten.”
EPISODE 3: The Last Inca Bridge of Q’eswachaka. “While reading up on Peru and the Andean world, I remember my first view of the Quechua word ‘ayni.’ Sitting in Hawaii during a driving rainstorm, I kept rereading the word and its description, which roughly explained, translates to a kind of ‘reciprocity’ among communities and peoples of the mountains.”
EPISODE 4: The Mountain Gods of Tanta. “Long necks bobbling like swans on the grasslands and the chiming of bells—our llama caravan ahead eats up swaths of dry terra and bounces over the wide land. Their ambling is the only thing that stirs up the landscape. The llamas’ necks crane for whatever succulents they can find while they move.”