Machu Picchu, Day 2

Cusco Travel Blog

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Last night turned out to be not so bad after all.  At 5 we had tea time and snacks, and then Fermin and I wandered to a nearby ruin where he gave an extremely thorough lecture on every aspect of it.  After this we decided to visit our neighboring campsite, and by some stroke of luck the girl I had met along the way was camped there. She had told her group about my solitary booking mishap and they were all more than welcoming, adopting me into their family!  It's a sizable group of around 10, make up of mostly Irish (of course!) and English.  We sat around in a circle on tiny camp chairs until 7, dinner time.  As their group is so large their meal tent is also, and I peeked inside at the glowing warmth from their lantern, and their large table set for many.  My own dinner tent was a bit farther down so I wandered down for my meal.   I was on time, no one else was however, so I sat in my tiny 2 person tent, in the dark, for a good 20 minutes before anyone showed up.  During this time I wished terribly I was with the others, and I could even hear their laughter floating over from the other campsite.  My last meal had been by dim flashlight as they had forgotten the lantern, but luckily somehow, once they did show up, the had managed to find one and at least the tent brightened up a bit.
 Dinner was spectacularily tasty as are all the meals, its amazing what one cook can do with a tiny gas stove.  Fermin and I had a pretty good dinner conversation, and I thanked my lucky starts again that I didn't get a shit guide, or the whole experience would be much much worse.  After dinner I rejoined the other group, and we played games under the bright moonlight until it was time for bed.

In the night I awoke a million times, as it was freezing cold and of course, as whenever I sleep in tents, I had to pee in the middle of the night but refuse to do so as its too cold.  At 6, the porters woke me with a cup of coca tea, and at 6:30 I watched the other group leave.  We were supposed to leave at 7 but its ended up being about 20 minutes late, as breakfast was running behind.  I had wanted to catch up with the other guys so was a bit impatient to get going, but finally we set off on the notorious Day 2 of the Inca trail.
    Today's walk was certainly tough, but I put my Ipod on a dance mix and set to it, apparently I went pretty quick as Fermin told me to slow down so the porters could get a decent head start, and by the first oasis break I had caught the others.  I couldn't walk with them still however as they set out quickly and I needed to change to lighter clothes, but I was actually fine walking alone at this stage as I was happy in my own little world, with my  music blaring and nothing but stairs carved into mountains in front of me.  The trail snakes across numerous streams with ancient wooden bridges, and at times thick forest encompassed me.  I even saw a deer, smaller than a Wisconsin white tail, but I only managed to get a picture of its ass unfortunately.  The last stretch is the hardest with an incredibly steep accent to dead woman's pass, but finally I crested it, cheered
on by my adopted group who was already resting at the top.  We stayed there for a while to take pictures and catch our breath, and eventually began the descent.
 Going down should have been easier, but my legs did not seem to appreciate this different movement, and the muscles started to quiver and ache with every giant stone step I went down.  Finally, at around 1 pm we reached the campsite.
    I originally was supposed to camp alone but Fermin cleared the way for me to move my tent relatively near my friends.  We had lunch, and then it was just relax time.  I found a brilliant look out rock in the middle of the camp and perched there for about an hour, listening to my songs and watching the clouds cast shadow designs across the enormous mountain peaks slanting upwards before me.  Fermin mentioned we can go check out an archaeological site later, but I'm rather unwilling as it means I'll have to endure the rather boring history lesson and try to not only look interested but think of questions to appease him.  Tomorrow apparently is chock full of sites to stop and admire, so I'm really hoping to walk with the neighboring group. "You won't be bored," he exclaimed, clearly thrilled at the idea of all the lectures coming up, but something tells me I just might be, unless I can find a nice way to explain to him that ironically enough, I didn't sign up for the ruin trek to learn about ruins in great detail, but instead to make some friends and have a laugh.
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photo by: Vlindeke