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Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
Perfect warm-up day upon arrival at altitude, take in as much or as little as you like. if you take your time exploring this could easily take you all day.
Need to Know
Binoculars for hummingbirds
LAKE AND RUINS OF KEUSHU: 3500m
This walk can take anything from ½ an hour to 4 hours depending on route taken and desired pace.
Distance from lodge 5 minutes
This site was permanetly inhabited from C. 3500BC to C. 1536AD.
This is a great opening trek for your first day or day of arrival to acclimatise and appreciate the lodge in relation to its local surroundings: the mountains, the lake, the adjacent ruins, the flora and fauna.
Set out from the bar, up the steps, and over the brow of the hill. Head straight ahead skirting the front lawn to its right hand side, join onto the vehicle track that runs down the hill on your left. Turn left at the front of the main ruin mound which is now directly ahead of you, onto a vehicle track and where it forks after about 70m take the right hand fork that heads down through the gap in the stone wall leading to the lake of Keushu. Walk around the lake in your chosen direction. On the left hand side (north) there are many large boulders with the high waterline of the lake marked on them, the largest, pointiest, tallest one has faint cave paintings on its overhanging side. When the lake is high (March -mid June) this is the best place to swim off of the rocks, beware the water is cold. The mud at the edge of the lake is slippery, like soap. One client wanted us to put up a sign: MUD - SLIPPERY. I thought it was a great idea, I suggested more signs: ROCK - HARD, SAND - SANDY, and my favourite WATER - WET.
Tsacpa Copse & hummingbirds: On the North-West ridge, of the main ruin mound, that drops down to the lake there is a small copse of Tsacpa (Oreocallis Grandiflora Proteaceae) Bushes. Of interest because this is the favoured habitat of many hummingbird species, as well as being used to make baskets by the local indigenous peoples. Dawn or dusk is an excellent time to hide out amongst these bushes armed with the naked eye or binocaulars and your digital SLR, prepare your self for a real treat. Here you'll find the Sparkling Violetear (Colibri Coruscans), the Green-Tailed Trainbearer (Lesbia nuna), the Shining Sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis) and others which we have not yet identified all vying for your attention, dive bombing you, swooping through the bushes, hackling each other in noisy fashion, and sipping the sweet nectar of the Tsacpa whilst hovering in majestic perfection.
The main Chulpa: Behind the Tscapa bushes, on top of the main ruin mound is the main Chulpa (burial building) of the Keushu ruins, this dominates the lake and its surroundings as was most probably intended by its Huari stonemasons. This ruin is very similar to the main ruin of Wilkahuain closer to Huaraz, with three levels although all three are not accessible because of roof collapses. The ceilings are made up of staggeringly large stone slabs. Defying your imagination of how they got them up there. This was most likely done by constructing the walls of the building then in-filling with earth and rubble, building an earthen ramp up the outside of the building and then rolling the slabs up on trunks using basic ropes to heave and wedges to stop the slabs rolling back down and squashing the workers, although this was probably too much of a concern as labour was probably cheap and litigation cases of the ruling party few and far between. Apparently there are over 100 skeletons in the lower level although this has now been sealed off by the archeologists that were investigating the ruins in 2006/7/8, using the lodge as a base and laboratory. Something that no one seems to have spotted, and Charlie only after being here for a year, is that Keushu is a glacial lake left by a receding glacier. The lodge hides behind a ridgeline which is therefore one of the glacier's terminal moraines, and the main ruin mound is a “Crag and Tail”. A physical geography term for a large lump of immovable rock - Crag, that not even a glacier can budge, the glacier goes around it and... FULL NOTES AVAILABLE AT LODGE
Flora & Fauna
Hummingbirds, Puna Ibis, Andean Lapwing, Mountain Cara Cara.
History & Background
First inhabited 2500BC