Peru 2018! Amazon Day 2

Day 2 in the amazon and my cold still won’t give up. I can’t miss out on the days activities so I take some medicine and go out. Today it is a boat ride to a nature walk to a lake where we do some fishing.

During one of our hikes we finally see a sloth. He is way up there hanging out.

Through the binoculars

We go on a boat ride to do some fishing. We see some birds, butterflies, and otters during our commute.

A piranha is what you will find. We are getting a demonstration of those teeth.

The women on the boat trip tend to be the excellent fishermen. This is me with my catch.

The chef cooks up our fish to enjoy. Not much meat but most of the fish is edible. It is like a crunchy snack.

Later in the day we do a hike to see the tree canopy from the fire tower. It is so peaceful from the top.

What breath taking views!!

Lastly before bed we do one more boat tour to see caiman (the amazon version of the alligator/crocodile). They are just sitting around and being lazy. I am sort of jealous.

This is pretty much the end of my trip. I start feeling progressively worse during the trip back (long boat ride, mini-bus ride, and flight back to Lima).

Once I got to Lima things got progressively worse. I tried to get some medicine but pharmacists weren’t very help. I think they ended up giving me a random antibiotic but only two of them. Plus my eyes was starting to get swollen and difficult to open. I was wondering how I was going to navigate the airport the next day if I was blind as well.

Last meal that was very difficult to eat.

Fortunately I was able to get home again but it took me about 4 weeks to finally beat this cold that I picked up. Oh what we will go through to travel!!!

Peru 2018! Amazon Day 1

I had one day of rest in my room of Cusco and then it was off again. This time I am heading to the Amazon. One of the downsides of organized tours that there is very little downtime and if you happen to get sick like I did then you need to just suck it up and push through (like I did) or go home early (like I should have done).
We have a short flight to Puerto Maldonado where we store the majority of our luggage in an upstairs office of some sort of transportation center. I should mention that there are many times we just leave our luggage during this trip and at no time was there any fear that it would be messed with. I guess that is one of the advantages of tour travel vs backpacking and having to fend for yourself.

After our luggage drop off we arrive at the river embankment and board our boat for the couple hour boat ride to our lodge for the next two days.

Lunch is served in leaf bag and whatever it was, it was delicious.

After our lunch there are very scenic views of the river. As well as some wildlife watching.

We spot a capybara family hanging in the mud.

Also tons of butterflies trying to take a drink of water on the rocks.

Soon enough we arrive at the lodge.

We start at the main building and are giving all the rules and information we need for our stay. They are serious about conservation here so we are told about how generations are only on for certain periods of time. If you have things to charge, make sure you have them plugged in during those windows. It is warm but I am surprisingly comfortable in my lodging with the fans that are available.

Happy hour in the lodge!

My home for the next couple days – single cabin all for me.

Make sure you use the net at night!

Once we settle in we put on our boots and go for a nighttime nature hike.
We see some ants, lots of spiders, and a stick bug.

Arriving back at lodge we are served dinner and I enjoy a caprihina from the bar. I am still fighting a cold so I head to bed early for the next day’s activities.

Peru 2018! Aguas Calientes

After our day at Machu Picchu we journey down to Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu town to meet for a celebratory meal and get our bags. I arrive early because I am beat and a cold is starting to take me down. I look around for some medicine and water and find a nice place to sit after wandering for only a few minutes.

Luckily where I chose to sit has a great view of a parade coming through town.

Soon it is time to meet up with the group again. There are pisco sours and there are congratulations.

We try some guinea pig. It is amazing.

For my meal I chose the trout. It was very good as well.

The tour leaders just discovered that we have a newly engaged couple (at machu picchu) in our midst. We toasted this adorable couple!

A couple drinks later and we are running with our bags to catch our train.
From the train we take a bus back to cusco. Many got beers but of course I had a headache and was already buzzing so I skipped getting more drinks.
Music was playing on the ride. We sang aloud. So much fun and great way to wind down.
2200 Steps

The next day in Cusco was a waste. I am so tired and so sick at that point. I did almost no sightseeing.
Another one to add to the “I must return” list. We are now off to the amazon.


Peru 2018! Machu Picchu

Last day was a 3:30 am wake up. This is to ensure a sunrise view from the Sun Gate. Fate had something else in mind for us. The rain from the night before continued throughout the 3 hour hike. We walked through puddles; I fell on wet rocks. Luckily it was no more than a little soreness as a result.
Right before you get to the sun gate with that first view they play a huge cruel trick on you and make you climb these “monkey” steps. The steps are large odd steps that require your hands. I cursed like a sailor and climbed up the last challenge to get to the reward. However at the top there was no view really (see photo above). It was foggy and rainy still. No photo moments for me so we continued on to the next vantage spot where the view was a little better.

Everything about me is wet at this point

Finally when we get inside it clears a little. Just in time for our tour.

Everyone stops to wring out their socks.

The fog lifts more and more and the day turns out to be beautiful. What a great reward!!

After our tour we have some free time to wander around. Some climb back up to the sun gate. I am spent so I just wander around a little bit then go to the bus to take me to Aguas Calientes. I vow to come back and next time do the train option so I have the energy to do extra exploring of Machu Picchu.

Peru 2018! Inca Trail Day 3

Yesterday was a rough day. It was a shorter hiking day but still took a lot out of me. Luckily we got lots of rest that night because the next day wasn’t going easier on us.
Today was a long day. Started with strenuous uphill to the first peak. We more Inca sites.
Still, we were rewarded with some beautiful vistas and some archaeological sites.

Lunchtime was fun. We had some fun with “fanny” and an onion ring plus Lomo Saltado!

This last day I finally spent some time hiking with part of the group. Some of them may have been sick thus the reason why they were at my pace, but I was grateful for a little companionship while it lasted.

At points it felt like I was walking in the clouds.

Today was hard on the knees. I ended up skipping the last Inca site due to lateness and exhaustion.
And we are done. The hardest is supposedly behind us with just a short hike to machu pichu in the morning.

This part may gross some out but I sometimes like to talk about BM (bowel movements). I think bowel movements are an important indicator of health. This third day of the hike I finally went poo poo in the potty. This is an accomplishment not only because my routine was all screwed up but also because I didn’t talk about the bathroom conditions before (and I have no photo of this). Our bathrooms most of the hike were a privacy tent with two buckets and some deodorizing powder. One bucket was for peeing and one bucket was for number 2. It was an art to do the switchover with sore legs and not have body parts touch things if you don’t want body parts touching things. It was gross somewhat but it was kept up really nice by one of our porters. He broke it down and put it back together a couple times a day (especially days we had a lunch setup). We tipped him really well at the end. When I do strenous exercising I tend to wake up and pee a lot during the night because my body goes into detox mode. If I didn’t have this challenge my sleeping would have possibly been more rejuvenating.

This last night my tent is scary close to a ledge, luckily I didn’t fall over a cliff during one of my many late night potty visits.
It also started raining in the middle of the night – should make a fun morning.
I also had heartburn or acid reflux every day of the hike. I am wondering what I can do to counter act that when I am doing strenuous activities.
16500 Steps today

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!