If you want to face death on the side of a forested cliff in the middle of the night (and possible live to tell the tale), then catch the night bus from Pilcopata to Cusco. It was the same incredibly bad road that we took to get to Pilcopata on Monday; but it was wet, it was uphill, and it was pitch-black. Massive unsealed pot-holes, in the dark. Hairpin cliff-side bends, in the dark. Passing oncoming vehicles on a road thinner than Kylie's waist, in the dark. Next time, I think I'll walk back.
We left Pilcopata on the local public bus at about 8:30pm last night, and we arrived back in Cusco at about 6:30am this morning. It takes longer on the way back — especially at night. I was fortunate enough to be able to (miraculously) sleep through most of the trip; but on the occasions that I did wake up, I was vaguely aware of the ridiculous danger that the bus was constantly putting itself in. For Ashley, Wil, and Stephan, however, there was almost no sleep to be had (for various reasons — e.g. mortal fear, back pain), and it was a long and horrid trip back. Anyway, thank G-d we all made it back in one piece.