Pick up at 8 am in Cuzco and drive 3.5 hours to the Salkantay Lodge, your base for two nights (12,690’). En route you visit the impressive Inca ruins of Tarawasi, a center for Inca rituals representing the finest masonry built with highly polished granite. Stop in at the mountain village of Mollepata for a coffee break then continue t the village of Marcoccasa where you can begin a 4-hour (5 mile) warm-up hike to the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon. (Travelers can also opt to continue to the lodge by car on a winding mountain track leading into to the spectacular valley of Soraypampa.) The Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley, the second-most sacred peak in Inca mythology and at 20,574’, the highest in the region. An evening briefing around the fire is followed by aperitifs and dinner. Overnight Salkantay Lodge at 3,869m/12,690 ft.