The Inca Trail - day three (unforgettable)

Cusco Travel Blog

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Arriving at the Inca fortress

The Inca Trail – day three

 

This was perhaps the hardest day for me. Today would be an 8 hour hike over two mountain peaks.

 

When we woke up it was still raining. By now it had been raining since midday on the first day. Everything was wet, all our clothes, and it was cold. There were no grand vistas because of the clouds and fog.

 

On our hike to the first mountain pass, we arrived at a small Inca fort with a splendid view of the Dead Woman’s Pass. This fortress was meant to guard the pass. Next to it were two little lakes.

 

It is an Inca tradition to take a little rock from the bottom of the valley and put it on top of the mountain once you reach it.

Inca city Sayacmarca
We did the same. We gathered small rocks near the fortress and took them with us to the top of the first pass, where we made a little tower of our rocks.

 

The trail went on, down again. We went through Inca tunnels and there was another big ruin on our way. This time we could only reach the ruin by leaving our backpacks on the road and ascending a very steep, narrow stairway. Ruins and Inca paths like these are still found around here by Peruvian archeologists almost every year! The ruin looked like a small town and showed the Inca way of using the natural rocks and surroundings in their city planning. There were very tiny moskitos too.

 

On our way to the second pass, more people from our group got sick. The bad weather and exhaustion was too much for some. Also, it might have been pizza. Listen:

 

Tip! Don’t! Eat! Pizza! In! Cusco!

According to our Inca Trail guides, almost everyone who eats pizza in Cusco gets sick during the Trail. The problem is this: the restaurants in Cusco present their pizzas very nicely, they bake them in a stone oven and then present the pizza on a wooden plate.

Me before entering the Inca tunnel
Almost every restaurant in Peru does it like this. But the wooden plates are often cleaned badly. Bacteria or sometimes parasites get into the pizza from the plate and infect you. Don’t do it!

 

After the second pass came the hardest part of the day, if not the hardest part of the entire Inca Trail! We had to descent 1,200 meters to our campsite. It is a very steep descent over 1,500 small, steep, wet, slippery Inca steps. These steps were not made for big dutch people with big feet. The guides named this descent the Gringo Killer! And the rest of the trip through Peru I have felt my knees ache when going down some steps. I was so glad I had a walking stick. It took about 2.5 hours to go down.

 

The nickname Gringo Killer almost became reality when one of our group was pushed from the path by a porter. Luckily the fall was only half a meter or so. You get to be very careful with these porters. There are more porters on the Trail than there are tourists. Whenever one wants to pass by, always stay on the rock side of the path!

 

By the end of the day almost half of our group had got sick one way or another. But then our cook entered the tent. And with him he had a huge cake! It happened to be the birthday of one of our group, Amber, and the cook had made this huge, delicious birthday cake! Incredible!

 

It was still raining outside and while we were eating the birthday cake we were all very nervous for tomorrow. Would the rain ruin our experience of Machu Picchu? Would the sick people be able to finish the trail? Would it be all for nothing?

skippyed says:
Great tip with the pizza, I shall remember than when I get to Cusco!
Posted on: Jul 26, 2012
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Arriving at the Inca fortress
Arriving at the Inca fortress
Arriving at the Inca fortress
Arriving at the Inca fortress
Inca city Sayacmarca
Inca city Sayacmarca
Me before entering the Inca tunnel
Me before entering the Inca tunnel
The road ahead to the first pass
The road ahead to the first pass
Part of our group
Part of our group
Dead Womans Pass
Dead Woman's Pass
The little fortress
The little fortress
A little lake
A little lake
The towers of rocks we made
The towers of rocks we made
Down again
Down again
Mountain arising from the clouds
Mountain arising from the clouds
Another Inca city
Another Inca city
a steep climb
a steep climb
The trail
The trail
The second pass
The second pass
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke