Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Revash and an amazingly proud father

This is Mike...
Today we drove up to Santo Tomas at an elevation of 8500 feet (2600 meters). We arrived here after driving down to 1800 feet (550 meters) and then driving all the way back up hair raising roads with 1000 foot drops and no guard rails. The town was very small (maybe 150 inhabitants) but the people were really friendly to us, as all the visitor income is divided equally as part of their community cooperative. This encourages locals to help tourist and also maintain parks when government fund are unavailable. We think this is such a great way to bring locals into the fold of tourism and the relatively clean money tourism generates.
   Revash is a funerary complex and is literally built into the cliff, similar to that of the dwellings in Mesa Verde, Colorado. The path getting to Revash was intense, steep, unstable, frightening, and exhilarating all rolled up into one. There truly was ZERO chance of error on this path. Most of the cliff portion leading to the funerary was sheer drops of hundreds of feet. Originally, we looked at the cliff portion of the trail and said, "Whelp kids this is the end of the road." The kids said, "Dad, we did not walk all this way to turn around right before the end." So, with that in mind, we tried to walk the walk as they say. My wife turned around early on and I do not begrudge her for doing so as it was absolutely terrifying on the cliff trail. The kids pressed on, and I tried to hover as close as I could, which was wholly insufficient given the terrain. We finally made it to the ruins and were relieved to finally be there and as a bonus the kids discovered what appeared to be a femur bone near the site. The kids demonstrated such maturity up there that words can hardly describe. This trip is deeply benefiting them in ways we are yet to find out. My hat goes off to my 7 and 9 year old daughters for showing daddy a thing or too about overcoming fears and accomplishing goals. This was one of those "Wow" moments that a parent will never forget.
   If you are planning to visit Revash here are some helpful hints: At the end of the two kilometer rock path there are two primitive trails (an upper one that takes you to the site and a lower one that is a viewing area below). If it is raining, very windy, or if you are afraid of heights do not do the upper trail. There is no room for error up there and one slip is all it takes. My wife backed out after a short distance and I am happy she did because it was the right thing to do. Don't push it, trust me on this one, it's not worth it.
Santo Tomas neighborhood

They are building log homes in this area.

Notice the log homes with a clay mixtures between the logs

It was a peaceful walk of 2 kilometers to the end.

Looking down on the valley floor below. We could hardly believe we drove so high in such a short distance.

The original paintings still adorn the cliff face

The girls sitting in a safe place to admire the view of the valley below

I am still baffled as to how the indigenous shaman were able to get up here in the ancient times.

The girls were very serious about the trail's dangers and took it easy.

Tucked away under a cliff, it is easy to see why it was only recently discovered.

Accomplished kids taking a rest

What appears to be a femur laying next to the site.

A wide view of just how steep it really was here. Imagine walking around the edge of a 15 story building that's what it was like here.

The site overwhelms the senses once you are there.

A women weaving a hammock on her hands and knees. This is the kind of work that goes into making the hammocks you see in the souvenir shops.

Lunchtime and the restaurant was in someone's home. The door on the lower right invited us into her kitchen.

Lunch table was set.

The girls were worried we were going to eat guinea pig for lunch, in fact Zoe initially shrieked when she saw one running by. We explained to our gracious hosts that guinea pigs in the US are pets and the women laughed at us. We asked them if they eat they guinea pigs and they replied yes without hesitation. Both of my girl said "Awe" at the same time. 

A country cooking station which was on the dirt floor had a watchful cat in the background hoping for scraps. By the way, lunch was fantastic and cost $4. We had homemade potatoes, rice, veggies, and a fried egg and washed it down with a local tea. The rice and potatoes were sitting in a delicious clarified gravy so maybe we had guinea pig after all and didn't even realize it. If you visit Santo Tomas this house is just to the right of the tourist office and the grandma chef is great.  

On the way down the mountain we saw some donkeys on the road

We drove on this road getting here. Notice the undercut section beneath the only way up here.

Washed out sections of the road are literally everywhere.

Many indigenous sites are yet to be discovered in this wonderland.

Zoe starting on the primitive path to Revash

The shrubs were in full bloom along the way.

Such fine construction in this old site.

This is the cliff the site is located on and can be fully appreciated from afar.

Yet another partial road collapse to add joy to a daily commute. We saw maybe one hundred of these today in varying sizes and conditions along the roads.

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