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12128condor - andes

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  • mike white
    Dec 9, 2013
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         unfortunately, i didn't get a chance of getting to the colca canyon, during my andean trip last year.  there was just too many other sites to see, and so little time and energy. 
         the colca canyon is now considered the deepest in the world, far deeper than the grand canyon.  it is the best place to see condors.  my trip was focused on the oldest ruins and relics.  this was a mistake, as i see now.  the highlights of a country should be seen.  the antiquities, as well the scenery, and folk cultures, must be taken in. 
         a fellow traveler spoke briefly but enthusiaticly, about having the condors swoop down, so close, that the rustle of their mighty wings could be heard. 
         two distinct cultures still live in the region.  they have just recently been accessible to outsiders.  only trails existed until the 1940s, it remains a bit remote, and little touched by the 21st century.  this is mostly true for the entire andes.  much contrast, from what is seen in lima, compared to the inner reaches of peru.  bolivia, a landlocked region of the altiplano, retains the oldest traditions.  the trip becomes more difficult and trying, the deeper you penetrate the andes. 
         allow extra time between destinations, that appear close together on the map.  to get from machu picchu to puno, requires an overnight in cuzco.  i failed to figure this into my itinerary, and began to lag my reservations at hotels, until i was far behind.  night travel by bus in the high andes, is a thing to be avoided.  it gets very cold, and you see little of the scenery.  the majestic view of towering peaks, is not common in the andes.  often, the horizon is blocked by lesser cordilleras, or covered by haze.  the altitude, and oxygen deprivation, can dull the mind, simple mistakes can become a hardship.  one must plan side trips to see the scenery, and another to see the condors, to make the andean trip complete.   many would plan the trip in four sections, lima and the south coast, to cuzco, a week, another for cuzco region to puno, a third for titicaca, and bolivia, and the fourth, exploring the north coast and valleys.  older people, with less stamina, should break it up, into separate trips.  flying into la paz, to explore bolivia, is far easier than crossing the altiplano by land.  if fate is kind, i may get another opportunity, to see more of the andes.  maybe i can add the colca canyon and arequipa, to the plan.  the latter has a great view of towering volcanoes.  my studies advance further from armchair pondering at home.  the internet makes discovery of distant realms far easier, than for former generations.  seeing in person, is frosting on the cake. 
         puma puko :  the link below has plenty of images of this astounding ruin on the high plateau.  some of the photos are other sites.  puma puko, likely dates to the atlantean era before 10,000 bce.  hard rock was machined into intricate shapes and patterns, originally held together by metal alloy clamps.  the blocks are now toppled in disarray, as if by titanic forces.  this high culture, before the inca, apparently was advanced, with high technology.  one cannot imagine that these wise folk would begin such a wonderful work, at its current elevation, of 12,000 ft or more.  certainly its in a bare and desolate location now, south of tiwanaku.  the spaniards further ruined the site, looting the metal clamps, for their silver content.  its hard to envision what the site looked like when built, some say a seaport.  lots of unnecessary work went into the details cut into the stone.  are we certain that the blocks were cut out of rock, or was it formed like concrete?  they say they are the hardest stones, granite and diorite.  if a thermal spring was nearby, they may have been a bath spa.  extensive excavation is needed to see the plan of tiwanaku and vicinity. 
         likely dates 26,000 to 10,000 bce,
      the age of silver. 
         the inca had its start at the end of the age of silver, 10,000 bce, and flourished and declined thru the bronze and iron ages.  if only we had more complete records of that long-lived civilization. 
         most of the work of construction of andean terraces, was pre-inca, probably done by the silver age atlantean rulers.  they used blocks of huge but secondary size, compared to the megalithic stones of sacsayhauman, but showing higher technology.  the andes has works from the golden age, down to that of clay, over 50,000 years, with other relics from even more archaic times, that include the ica stones. 
         i was lucky enough, to hold in my hands, the very ica stone, that began dr cabrera on his collection and study of them.  it had an extinct fish etched on it.  a few great men, have put years of work in the andes, to advance human knowledge of its history, and their main contributions, have been ignored.  i think of padre crespi, velasco, montesinos, dr tschudi, dr poznansky, and dr cabrera.  i hope their works are given more credibility by the generation to follow.  in other lands, ruins as old as these, are deeply buried by time, or under the sea.  the mighteous works of engineering, totally destroyed by mother nature.