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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kusilluchayuc: toads, snakes and monkeys

During a recent trip to Cusco, Peru a friend and I caught a taxi and traveled along the main route leading to the Sacred Valley. Our quest was to find Kusilluchayuc (GC2XQF2). Our taxi driver stopped several times to ask directions so as to get us as close as he could. This ancient Inca ruin is located off the routes that cars can travel and does not seem to be a main tourist attraction. The driver stopped and asked a farmer if his passengers could cut across his field. With friendly approval from the farmer we were off on a 500 meter hike down the hill to a clump of carved stone outcroppings. My friend tracked us to the cache with my GPSr. After signing the log and replacing the cache we decided to search for the famous stone with the carvings of a monkey and snakes. The name of the cache and also the name of the ruins means "place of monkeys" in Quechua. At this elevation there are no monkeys but the Inca people certainly knew of the monkeys that inhabit the nearby jungle. The stone was described as being two meters in height and shaped like a large toad. Fortunately for us the cache was an easier find. After a short search we found some young lovers hiding out among the ruins. They were kind enough to show us the stone. Maybe they thought we'd go away quicker if we found what we were looking for. It was hard to make out the images. Can you see the image of the monkey in the close-up photo? It looks like they are pretty weather-worn. On one side of the ruins runs the Inca Trail. We walked uphill to get a glimpse of the Moon Temple. It was already getting late so we took photos from a distance and headed back down the mountain. We had several stops to make along the way. One was Quenqo Grande and Quenqo Chico. GTAbusquedor has placed a micro at Quenqo Chico. If you come to Cusco be sure and visit the labyrinth Inca ruins here. We then cut across a stand of eucalyptus trees to the Cristo Blanco statue overlooking Cusco. There we began our descent into Cusco. As we were coming down the steep mountain prepared trail the lights of Cusco began to come on. What a beautiful view! Cusco has so much to see. Fortunately the number of geocaches is growing too!
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