Peru 2018! Inca Trail Day 2

We wake up early around these parts. Someone comes to your tent and places a bowl of hot water to wash in and asks if you would like some hot coca tea. The answer is always yes to coca tea. You need the energy and it will help with the altitude, especially today, the highest day. A rooster is getting in his call just in case you aren’t already awake. We started early at 5 am and were on the trail about 6:30. The plan is to go straight through with needed breaks and meet at campsite for a late lunch (instead of lunching 1/2 way). Well my lunch was actually at 4:30 vs 1:00, we will get to that later. Today was the most challenging day. High altitude and lots of uphill.

The terrain changes drastically on this day: You walk through rain forest like area, see alpacas on the trail, and then very dry on your ascent to the top. This is the day that is supposed to be the hardest. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard but the temperatures made this day more enjoyable. The goal is to hike to the Dead Woman’s Pass. The altitude is  At 4,215m (13,828 ft). It is very challenging to get up there and I did have a minor worry on the way up. I felt like my hands were becoming numb. I don’t know if it was all in my head but I did stop to rest at that point. One saving grace is that there is a nice area to chill before you start your ascent. There is someone selling water, sodas and snacks. My guide convinced me to get a coke even though I didn’t want the sugar. It was one time in my life I had no appetite yet I needed to eat in order to survive this hike.

Last stretch to the top. See the “boobie” like thing? That’s where I’m going.

At this point my DSLR went crazy. I guess it wasn’t meant for high altitude.

At the top

You get to enjoy your satisfaction at getting at the top but not too long because you really will be harmed by the altitude.

It is a long 2 hour downhill to the campsite. The steps are big and present a challenge to me.

 Because I am the last one out two porters seek me out and offer to carry my bag the rest of the way. It helped but was still challenging on the way down. Apparently I got taken down a short cut to the  camp site as well as the two other late girls (one American and the Canadian).
Luckily no I think no chickens here today. Just sound of other birds, bugs, and flowing water in the background.
Supposed to be the worst day and all “easier” from here but we will see if I can walk tomorrow
Today’s count 20000 steps.

Peru 2018! Inca Trail Day 1

Even though I felt like I was dying every night of the hike I forced myself to journal before bed. Thank goodness I did so I can later remember vividly how I thought and felt about the experience (and to remember why I never want to do it again, lol).

Day 1 had very short wait for entrance and I am surprised. Our leaders must have timed our entry correctly so we would have best use of the daylight hours.
I rented poles but they forgot one set of poles and almost didn’t get them because everyone grabbed theirs like it was a game of muscial poles and I had zoned out.  I was almost freaking out. It was going to be hard enough for me to do the hike but to do it without something to stabilize me – impossible. Fortunately one girl gave me hers and took the guide’s pole.

Waiting to enter trail

Sign guest book

Looking back at my photos it looks like I wore the same outfit every day. I don’t really remember that as a strategy but maybe I was saving the clean ones for sleeping and the last day.

Starting out was beautiful and hot. Very hot for me a good part of day and stairs were a bitch. Contemplating giving up a few times. Everyone tells you the first day isn’t bad. I don’t know what trail they were hiking? My first day was like a weed out class in college – get the weak to drop out.
I was the slowest and in the back of the pack most of time and because of that my breaks were short compared to others.

Doing the bathroom break almost right away. Very good bathroom placement.

First archaeological site along the way

It was embarrassing being in back. I booked this hike as a journey of self healing but day one only made me hate how out of shape I had become. However when I slowed down the hike was more enjoyable. Just wish day pack was lighter. Just wish I didn’t care that I was the slowest.

Lunch was cool. The porters are amazing. They rush ahead and set up the lunch tent for us and all food is read to be eaten. The hike is really well organized.

After lunch it rained. I used my poncho instead of jacket. It did cool things down but you are hiking in the rain and worried that you didn’t secure all your junk and everything will be soaked. The second part of the day hike was easier but I was happy to make it to the camp site.

Hikers and all the men who helped keep me alive.

More notes from my journal ….
Peed only twice on trail and realized not getting enough water because I had dark pee. Tried to make up for it but was too late. Got migraine like headache and food was not digesting well.
Didn’t feel better until taking migraine medicine later that night. Thank goodness I brought my medicine.
A sleeping pad helps but I still struggle for nighttime comfort. Let’s see if I get used to it tomorrow. Food good, trout for dinner, but I have little appetite. Need to try to eat more to sustain energy.
Luckily one hiker has been keeping track of our steps – 16000 steps that day!

Peru 2018! Ollantaytambo

After our day in the sacred valley we drive to Ollantaytambo to see one more sight and check into our hotel for the night.

The drive over is pretty

Way up the cliff is a hotel you zip line to. You stay in capsules.

All the inca trail hikers meet up for a quick photo before our hike tomorrow.

Loving my single room at the lodge.

One more sight before we retire for the night. We do meet up for dinner after but we all really just want to take it easy because our upcoming hike will be hard.

Peru 2018! Sacred Valley

Before we launched into our hike we visited the sacred valley of Peru. We visited a local heritage site where we learned about the Quechuan peoples. We were greeted with tea, a dance, and given local outfits to wear.

We took some fun group photos.

We made some alpaca friends. They just wanted to eat.

We were then lead out to help with the harvest.

At lunch we had a very tasty vegetarian meal made with local foods.

We had discussions about how yarn is colored before being woven into beautiful goods such as rugs and scarves.

The rest of our time we explored the site.

Peru 2018! Cusco

My time in Cusco was short. We had one day of sight seeing before we went off to the Sacred Valley. I did return to Cusco after my inca trail hike (more later) but I was too sick to complete my sightseeing. Again, Cusco is another town I must visit once more. There were so many things I missed. I did enjoy my one long day there.

We started with a little walking tour and stop for a local snack.

Aji de Gallina Empanadas (Chicken)

We visited the narrow streets, some with example of Inca masonry. We were told how advanced the methods were for their time, made to withstand earthquakes. Also pointed out were the animal patterns hidden in the brick layout.

We visited a food market. You can tell from my past posts that I was in heaven. I was able to buy some dried fruit snacks for my upcoming hike but I really wish I had time to purchase more food stuff to take home.

Cusco is a beautiful city.

One of the more “touristy” things we did was visit a chocolate place. We made our own hot chocolate.

Half our tour group snuck in a dinner at a local restaurant. I tried alpaca meat and decided I wasn’t a fan.

 Alpaca brichera 

It was a nice dinner but it made us late for our Inca trail preparation meeting. The meeting is where I got this map, and questioned what I was getting myself into.

Some from the tour went out that night. I was exhausted and retired early. I wanted to save all I had for the Inca trail – I had a feeling I was going to need all the energy I could save up!