Nugget Diaries: Home At Last!

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Dear Internet Friends,

Hello! My name is Nugget and I am 12 weeks old. This weekend I met my new Mommy and Daddy. They brought me to a new home with lots of toys and treats and gave me an itchy collar. I miss my dog-parents Poe and Fae, but I am discovering all sorts of new things in this home. My favorite spot in my new house is on a big fluffy Flokati rug. On Saturday, I accidentally started peeing on it, but Mommy started yelling at me so I stopped. When I want to use the bathroom I sit on my butt near the door, and then my new parents take me on a walk. I made lots of new friends and discovered something called peanut butter. It is delicious. Mommy says I need to stop barking at other four-legged creatures, but I just get so excited! Yesterday at puppy pre-school, the trainer said that I need to make 100 human and dog friends before I turn 6 months old so that I become so-shuh-lized. I don’t know what “so-shuh-lized” means, but I heard Mommy telling Daddy that we should go play with other dogs, so it must be a good thing! Today my parents are at work, so Daddy set up something called a “web-cam” so that he can look at me on his phone while he is not at home. That’s all for now. I’m going to take a nap in my bed!

Love,
Nugget

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Coming Soon…A New Addition to Our Family!

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Hello, world! It’s been a while, and a lot has happened. In the past month, I moved in with D, his parents moved away from the DMV, and now…Darren and I are excited to announce that we will be welcoming a new member to our family!

More after the jump.

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Travel Notes: Arequipa and Colca Canyon

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After a whirlwind 2 days through Puno and Lake Titicaca, we were down to the final leg of our two-week trip across Peru. I had never heard of Colca Canyon before beginning to research places to visit in Peru, but after reading about the graceful condors that can only be found in the canyon, I knew we had to check it out.

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From Puno, we took the 4M Express bus to Arequipa, passing through packs of alpacas (cuteness overload), a lake situated even higher than Titicaca, a series of volcanoes including El Misti, and a high point of 4,910 meters- just over 16,000 feet. The bus ride took about 7 hours and dropped us off directly at our hostel, Colonial Inn. Arequipa was by far the most European of the cities we had visited, with gorgeous Spanish architecture across town. We didn’t have much time to explore though- the next morning it was off to Colca Canyon!

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Engaged!

Hi friends! Over the weekend, this happened…

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…and I said yes! Here’s how it went down.

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Travel Notes: Puno & Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

After our exhausting Inca Trail hike, it was off to the legendary Lake Titicaca. The 3,200 sq. mile lake borders Peru and Bolivia, accessible on the Peruvian side via Puno, and is the largest lake in South America. ‘Titicaca’ roughly translates to “stone puma,” which the lake’s shape is supposed to resemble. I suppose this is true if you have a highly creative imagination and squint 🙂 At any rate, the day long tour of the Uros and Taquile Islands was a much needed break to recover from the fast pace of the Inca Trail. The tour began at 6:30 AM (it takes about 1.5 hours to get to the Uros Islands and another hour from there to Taquile) and ended around 5 PM.

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
We arrived in Puno on a Sunday, only to find the Plaza de Armas almost completely deserted. 

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
Finally got to eat at a chifa (Peruvian term for the numerous Chinese restaurants that can be found across the country). Cheap and delicious!

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
 En route to the Uros islands. The lake’s water was a glistening deep blue.

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca
 Reed houses and boats on the Uros Islands

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Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

Travel Notes: Puno and Lake Titicaca

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Taquile Island

Additional notes and tips after the break

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The Inca Trail Hike: 4 days, 26 miles, and a helluva lot of steps

The Inca Trail Classic 4-Day Hike: Day 4, Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is limited by the Peruvian government to 2500 visitors each day – and only about 10% of that daily total typically come via the long route. Those that do make it are following in the same footsteps as the Incans in going from the old Incan capital of Cusco to the hidden peaks of Machu Picchu, a journey that takes you up, over, and around the cavernous Urubamba River Valley, to the tune of four days (or 3 if you are particularly motivated), 45 km (27 miles), and a hell of a lot of rock steps.

For us, taking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was the main premise of our trip to Peru, and without a doubt, the experience delivered. Over the course of four long and tiring days, we gazed upon countless magnificent views, saw a plethora of Andean wildlife, pooped in a number of questionable holes in the ground, and tasted a life’s worth of home-cooked Peruvian and Incan dishes.

Day One

The Inca Trail Classic 4-Day Hike: Day 1
The beautiful Urubamba River, our companion on Day 1

The Inca Trail Classic 4-Day Hike: Day 1
Patallacta Ruins

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Campsite, Night 1

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A sampling of the delicious food we were served along the trail.

With Cusco at just about 11,000 feet, we spent our two pre-hike days acclimating to the altitude, and it was well worth it, especially on a trek where you are consistently above 10,000 feet (and that takes you as high as 14,000 ft on day two). While the distance from Cusco to Machu Picchu is actually 50 miles (and 500 years ago the Incans would have done the full load), the Inca Trail actually begins at Piscacucho at kilometer 82, after a quick pit stop at Ollantaytambo in the AM, where our bus picked up the 12 porters that we would have accompanying our group of 6. So it wasn’t really until about 9 or 10 when we first got started on the first leg of our journey, as day one was, in the words of our masterful guide Edgar, a relatively flat (even according to Peruvian standards, where flat really means up and down), 12 km jaunt. In the morning, we covered about half of the 12km at a constant altitude to Llaqtapata (8694 ft), where we had our first lunch stop. A very scenic couple of hours, the hike was along the Urubamba River, where we had a chance to see several Incan terraces and a few small ruins along the way. After a three-course lunch prepared by our porter-chef Fredi (“Chico”), which set the high standard for food throughout the trek, we took off on an afternoon where we would cover the remaining 5km, mostly going uphill to an elevation of 9842 feet, to the site of our first campsite at Wayllabamba. The views in the second half of the day were solid, if unspectacular, with a couple stops here and there to check out some Incan ruins in the distance. At Wayllabamba, we were camped in a field within the tiny village, surrounded on all sides by mountains. The village had a Christian church and some old ruins that we checked out at the top of the hill, where we happened upon a pick-up soccer game played by kids living in the village. All of our party, tired from the first day, went to bed early, especially since we were about to embark on a series of 5:30am wake-up calls.

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