The Inca Trail: Days 1 and 2
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
December 10th, 2008 – by: jlchatham
I'd spent the night before the start of the trek with a stunner of a headache, stressed out and worried that the altitude had finally gotten to me and this trek was going to be quite an epic ordeal. We awoke early and after popping a few ibuprofens and drinking some coca tea, I was feeling better and raring to go.
My group consisted of three Americans, ten Australian friends traveling together, another Australian guy traveling alone, and a Brazilian that lived in Australia.
The first day was fairly easy, a five and a half hour jaunt through a valley, reaching camp around 4:30 in the afternoon and relaxing for the rest of the day until nightfall. After loading up on a delicious dinner we hit the sack, hoping our legs and lungs would recover enough for the monstrosity that awaited us on the second day; Dead Woman's Pass, a 4100 meter pass and the highest point of our trip.
We started off this day at 5 am. We had breakfast and were then introduced to the porters. These are the majestic group of men who inconceivably carried all the food and camping stuff day after day, nearly running up the mountains while we struggled behind, and often in nothing more than sandals while we sported the latest in hiking fashion footwear. A trip that could not be done without them and a group we could never fully show our appreciation for. To say that these guys are impressive is a massive overstatement, and anyone that's seen them smile a hello as they seemingly effortlessly lug 50+ pounds of stuff on their back (often tied up in only ropes or belts, not a proper backpack) up a mountain will know what I mean.
We started up the climb at a rather brisk pace. We would have two rest stops on our way up the mountain, separated more or less by two hours of climbing. Feeling good and with overzealous confidence, I exchanged leads with my American (from California) colleague as we roared up the mountain to the first, and then the second stops. We reached both well ahead of schedule and sat about at the second stop drinking tea and nibbling snacks as the rest of the group arrived.
And then we started the third and final leg up the mountain. It started to rain, got kinda cold, and then I started hitting the wall. I begin stopping every 6-7 minutes to rest. Then every 3-4 minutes.
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