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Stephanie Hart

Trek of a lifetime!!

I recently did a 2-day, 1-night 18-mile trek with Runas Expeditions. We hiked to Ausengate and then to the Rainbow Mountains, with a bonus choice of hiking through the Red Valley instead of following the “tourists” down the mountain. I’ll tell you, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but one of the most rewarding!!

Eddy and his team were very professional from the start. He stopped by our hotel a couple nights before we left to drop off duffel bags and a few other supplies so we would have time to prepare. They picked us up early on our start day, drove to the starting point and proceeded to make us a breakfast of omelettes, bread, fruit, quinoa granola, coffee and coca tea (to help with altitude). It was fantastic!! My friend and I had a difficult time on the uphills (we live almost at sea level, and we hiked up to 16,300 feet that day), often taking breaks every 30 feet or so. Eddy was very patient, encouraging us and congratulating us every step of the way. It was a feeling I cannot describe when we finally reached Ausengate. WOW!! Once there, Eddy explained the significance of the sacred mountain, and even did a small ceremony with coca leaves that we were invited to participate in. Super cool. From there, we hiked to camp for lunch – soup, a vegetable salad, bread, rice, potatoes, and trout ceviche. The chef always had snacks for us to grab before we left again.

Eddy gave us the choice of staying there or heading over one more pass to camp for the night. We chose to go on. We made it right before dark and snacked on popcorn while the chef made dinner. I was too exhausted and had no appetite due to the altitude, so I hit the tent. They had plenty of warm sleeping gear for the below zero temps, and even gave us a hot water bottle to put inside our sleeping bags! I slept like a baby.

The next day we got up early to beat the other hikers, had another wonderful breakfast, and got to Rainbow Mountain just after sunrise. There were just a handful of other people there, so we practically had it to ourselves. After a few photos with Eddy and his crew, we left for the Red Valley. It was unREAL!! Much better than the Rainbow Mountain you see on all the postcards. There were more rainbows in this valley, and we had it all to ourselves!! It was like walking through a painting! Eddy led us over the mountains and then down past some local farms to meet our team. We had a great victory lunch – which included a cake and a bottle of champagne!

I highly recommend Runas Expeditions if you are planning a trek. They will treat you like family and you’ll never forget it!