We Survived The Inca Trail!
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 4 of 30 › view all entries
Woke up at 4.15am having packed the night before. We decided to rent backpacks as ours weren't suitable for trekking and didn't want to ruin them! They were both quite heavy as we had to carry sleeping bags and water for the trek.
We were picked up from the hostel at 5.20am both feeling excited and very tired! We had to walk down the hill near the hostel and got on our coach at the bottom, there was only one other member of our new 'family' on it at thattime. We then picked up the rest of the group which totalled 16 including us and then made the 1.5 hr journey to ollantambo where we had breakfast with our family. We got hassled by all the locals trying to sell us sticks, hats, gloves, coca leaves...etc. After breakfast we got back onto the coach and made the short journey to KM82 where the Inca Trail starts.
We then started to walk with the group to the first checkpoint where we had to show our passports and got an inca trail stamp. After this we posed for a group photo and then began the trek....
The first day is said to be the training day as it is the least strenuous. The first morning was a fairly easy hike with gentle slopes although half way through was tough steep slope but we were to find out that was nothing!! We made it to the first lunch stop having seen some amazing views along the river and the highest snow capped peak called Veronica.
We carried on after lunch and again the trek was fairly easy although Emma's backpack was showing signs of deterioration!! WE made it to the first camp about 3.30 where the tents where all set up including the dining tent and the porters greeted us again. we chose our tent and then Neil was amazed and excited to find a bucket of cold beers for sale!! He quickly consumed 2.
We were woken up at 5.15 with tea in the tent which ratty neil spilt over his sleeping bag and roll mat! We had our breakfast (toast, fruit, pancakes, porridge and tea). As the sleeping bags that we had rented were big and quite heavy and we had struggled with them the first day to secure them to the backpacks, we decided to hire a local porter to cary them to the next campsite for 14 pounds. This proved to be the best 14 pounds we had ever spent!
We set off at 6.15am. The first part was all through forest with very very steep steps, but the scenery was amazing.
We pysched ourselves up and set off. The next 2 hours were probably the toughest of our lives!! It is a sheer slope sraight up with absolutely no flat sections, whatmakes it even harder is we could see where we had to get to and how far it was.
It was now about midday and we set off on the next stage to our second camp. We were glad to hear it was now all down hill. We set off at pace but this didn't last long as the steps were so steep but also very big and sometimes had to jump down them! After about 20 mins Neil started to really struggle as it was the worst possible surface for his knees, in the end he had to let Emma go ahead as she needed a wee!! We finally both met at the camp greeted by our porters and a grape drink.
We were woken with tent tea service at 5.30am and had half hour to pack our stuff before breakfast. This day we had to carry all of our stuff again but we managed to borrow some bungee cord from someone in our group which meant we could fasten the sleeping bags tight which made it so much easier as didn't swing and Neil had both roll mats on either side of his pack which made it much more balanced.
It was now all down hill to the last campsite, the first stage was short as we visited another ruins and from here took some amazing photos off the side of the mountain as though we were walking in the clouds. After another talk from the guide the group was told to set off to the campsite for the last leg, which would take about 2 hrs. On this part the group got very spread out as some wanted to get to the campsite as quick as possible and they ended up running! The other people like us took it slowly to take it all in, on this part we saw spiral staircases, tunnels lots of birds and amazing greenery. This path was quite easy but very winding. Along this path we did not see anyone for about half an hour from our group or any of the other people along the trail, so we thought we might have gone wrong.
We were woken at 3.50am but no tea tent service this day as we had to leave as soon as possible to try and get to the sungate for sunrise. Breakfast was at 4.20am and we were all ready to leave as 4.50. On this day we did not have to carry our sleeping bags or mats as the porters went a different route to go home. We got a little way along a trail in the pitch black before meeting a big queue of other groups. Here we waited 30 mins for the checkpoint to open at 5.30am before everybody had to show a ticket to be let on this part of the trail. Once through it semed like a race with nobody stopping. It was hard to enjoy this part as it was very dark bit as it became light we came up to the steepest almost vertical staircase of the trek. We made it up and then had 10 mins down to the Sungate. At this point it is the first place you are able to see Machu Picchu, but this morning it was very misty and you could barely see infront of you! Our group decided to make our way down the 30 min trail to the viewing point of Machu Picchu, most of our group stayed together down this part and Victor stopped a few times to show us orchids and fruit. We made it down to the 'postcard point' and it was still totally misty. It started clearing so the guides took a few family photos before we made our way down to the entrance. At about 10am we entered Machu Picchu for a 2 hr tour from Victor, which was excellent as he was so knowledgable, the place is like nowhere you have ever seen, it is amazing with llamas running around everywhere. At about midday we were given free time to explore before getting a bus down to Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes) to meet the rest of the group and the guides at 2pm for lunch. In our free time we went to see some more of the ruins and then just sat down on the grass in the sun and looked around at amazing mountains surrounding us.
For lunch we shared a massive pizza (much deserved) before having a couple of hours to look around the town. Neil bought a Peruvian football shirt for 4 pounds and then we met back at the restaurant at 5.30 to collect our bags and go the train station for our 6pm train. The train was much better than English trains, with reclining seats and was mainly full of trekkers.We got off at a town called Ollantambo where we had breakfast on the way to be met by hundreds of peruvian locals selling stuff and offering taxi rides back to Cusco. Our group was met by someone who showed us to a coach to take us back to Cusco. We made it back just before 10pm and was dropped off in the main square for a short walk back to our hostel for some much needed sleep. In all, it has been the best 4 days of our lives and would do it again.
If you are reading this buy a ticket, come to Peru and do the Inca Trail!!