inca trail begins

Cusco Travel Blog

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    tomorrow morning, wake up at 5 and set off on the inca trail. having a hard time fitting everything in my bag. others in group include australians, british, irish, and some quebecois (way to ruin the whole english speaking theme, you frenchies). god this was so stupid. hope to add another entry on the 9th or 10th. roughing it until then.

####edit, so the first day of the trail was already interesting. matty got sick the night before and comptemplated going back to cusco. amir and i split his backpack for the first day so he could focus on just getting himself up the hills. we trekked through some villages along the urubamba valley and visited some smallish inca ruins. mainly it was what the guides referred to as a practice day to gear us up for the greuling parts of the rest of the trail.

Our tent city
i decided i was going to try to carry my own backpack and sleeping bag the entire way (most of my fellow trekkers employed the services of a porter to carry most of their stuff). the last 2 hours of trekking straight uphill, however, convinced me that i´d need a porter for the 2nd day, which is generally known as the most daunting. the campsite was enormous, fit for a veritable army. i split a tent with an english guy from bath, who didn´t know who the wife of bath was (why do WE need to study the canterbury tales and english ppl don´t?!) away from city lights and on top of the highest mountains in the western hemisphere, i´ve never seen stars as large and bright as that first night. it was almost hard to look at them.

the 2nd day was amir´s turn to get sick.

our small army or trekkers and porters
we all struggled up ´dead woman´s pass´ even without our backpacks. i was the 9th out of our group of 16 to finish it, which i´m pretty proud of considering most of the group was younger than me. we hung out at the top and rested for a half an hour and then walked DOWN the whole other side of the mountain (which was as difficult for the joints as going up was for on´s conditioning). camped and ate lunch. then hiked up and down another pass . finally, after 8 or 9 hours of hiking, we had the option of going directly to our campsite for dinner and sleep or visiting the ruins of sayacmarca. this was the site i was most looking forward to, and i didn´t want to skip it. the pictures reminded me so much of lord of the rings and seeing them in person did not disappoint.
taking a rest while hiking up dead woman´s pass
actually, between the constant walking, mountainous countryside, ancient stone ruins, and constact orc attacks, the whole of the trail reminded me of tolkein´s universe. i even had a ring i bought in cusco to drop off at mount doom (putucusi) at the end. 

the 2nd day ended in rain, and i had barely any clothes that weren´t soaked in sweat and/or rain. i barely slept at all between this general discomfort and the abysmal snoring of my tentmate (who will remain nameless).

luckily day 3 was another easy day. we only hiked in the morning, mostly downhill to the trekker´s hostal at winay winya.  while this place was a completely run-down building and absolutely filthy, it seemed like a palace after 3 days on the trail. we had cold drinks, showers (though certainly not hot ones) and time to rest our weary bones. we also visited the nearby ruins of the same name, which produced more lord of the rings-like photo ops.

next day, wake up at 430 and begin short trek to machu picchu. easy hiking, a couple of uphills and stairs. unfortunately this was the worst day in terms of weather. a lot of rain and the whole valley shrouded in fog. we got to the sun gate and couldn´t see mp because of the fog. missed out on the classic photo of mp with wayna picchu in the background. took some photos with llamas, registered with the park entrance officers. then had to sit through this crappy 3 hour tour of mp with our inca trail guide. (i was trying to ditch the group and explore shit on my own. this was the one thing i was unhappy with the tour agency about). finally the weather started to clear up mid-day. got to climb up wayna picchu. for the first 75% of the way up, it was a piece of cake. but once i started getting closer to the summit, my fear of heights started kicking in. there were some hair-raising stairs with steep drop offs and some tiny tunnelsi needed to squeeze myself through (shelob, anyone?) and unfortunately the peak wasn´t all that rewarding as it started raining and got all cloudy again. then we heard thunder in the distance, and thought the top of a mountain wasn´t the best place to be at the time. what can i say, we did choose to go in the rainy season.

crazy thing about climbing wayna picchu, we met a couple of mennonites on the way up. i could tell they were PA dutch from the way the girl was dressed. they told us they ran a store in reading terminal market. crazy place to meet ppl from your hometown or state.

got back down and immediately had to run and catch the bus from mp to aguas calientes. the bus needs to zigzag its way down the steep mountain. meanwhile, young kids in inca chasqui clothing literally run a more direct route down the mountain, and scream ¨goodbye¨and ¨thank you¨in english, spanish, and quechua every time they reach your bus. very cool and kind of scary (the story of peru)

had lunch with our guides and fellow trekkers. said our last goodbyes. not much to do in aguas calientes. went to the hot springs (from which the town´s name is derived). kind of like bacteria city. the water is a healthy bright green. many locals. talked about putucusi with a guy who looked exactly like john leguizamo. girls there were pretty hot. next day, putucusi, to destroy the ring of power before sauron can retrieve it.
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Our tent city
Our tent city
our small army or trekkers and por…
our small army or trekkers and po…
taking a rest while hiking up dead…
taking a rest while hiking up dea…
photo by: Vlindeke