The Inca Trail

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Rocks put in the road on the way to the Inca Trail by proters.

Wednesday night I was walking to the pre-trek briefing for Machu Picchu when I realized that I needed to return back to our hotel to do some vomitting.  Always a good way to start a four day trek in the mountains.  I showed up to the briefing and they said they had some special news as their first statement was...´based on the protests we don´t think we will be able to leave on the trek tomorrow morning as planned.  Instead we will need to leave in 3 hours so that we can go in the dark and avoid issues.   Please go home and pack your bags and be ready to leave at 10:30pm´.  The curse words that were in my mind did not actually come out of my mouth at the time.  Instead I went home and went to bed hoping that I would feel better a few hours later.

Our tour group. 10 ports are on the top. Below is 3 French ladies, 2 Belgians, 2 Swiss, 1 Dutch, 1 Peruvian and me. Our two tour guides were taking the pictures.
  I woke up at 9:30pm and puked again, but began packing.  I went to the hotel lobby at 10:30 to checkout, but ran to the bathroom to puke again and decided to forget about it and told them that I would stay the night and to let the tour company know.    I felt horrible so I wasn´t even upset at the time that I was missing the trek. 

The guide called me at 11:30pm and told me that they would send a car for me in the morning and they would wait for me.  I laughed to myself thinking that there was no way I was going.   My vomitting slowly changed to diahrea which is not much more pleasant when you have to get up every hour of the night.  I did feel better when my alarm went off at 5:30 and decided that if my stomache could hold breakfast I would go.

Dead woman´s Pass. The highest point along the Inca Trail at 4200m
  To make an already long story shorter, I ended up going and the car picked me and a french girl up (who also had the same issues the night before). 

We did have a few problems en route to meet up with the group.  A lot of rocks blocking the roads and at one point 10 guys were standing over the rocks with more rocks in their hands.   They started walking towards our taxi and shaking their heads when our taxi driver quickly turned around and found a backroad.  At other points people got out of their cars and moved boulders and rocks out of our way and we eventually arrived.  Note that the US department issues a travel warning for Peru two days after this incident.

The trek ended up being a lot more difficult than I thought.

My first sighting of Machu Picchu at 6:30am on July 16.
  The diahrea continued for the first three days so I was always leading the group to the next campsite and toilet.  I for some reason didn´t realize until I was going to bed that this would be my first time sleeping in a tent.  At night it was cold and I was normally bundled with a sweatshirt in addition to a sleeping bag and at times we camped right next to adobe homes.   I occassionally got up in the night to find an outhouse with thousands of stars in the skies.  At the same time, it was amazing that sheep and turkeys were roaming the same yards that we were sleeping in (literally a few feet away).

We normally woke up at 5:45 and had breakfast before starting our treking at 7am.  Our last morning we woke up at about 3:45am to get to the sun gate in time to be one of the first to see Machu Picchu from the sun gate and to have the world famous monument to ourselves.

My tent mate finished the climb at the second pass.
  The toughest day was Day #2 when we climbed from and altitude of about 3000 meters to 4200 meters mostly on giant Incan steps.  To put this in perspective...this is like walking to the top of the Sears towers (527 meters) 2 times in one day with over 30 pounds of luggage on your pack after having been dehydrated from puking and having diahrea for 2 days.  Our group was great. 

It included two Swiss, two Belgians, three French, 1 Dutch, 1 Peruvian and me being the lone American.   This made French the predominant language at dinner.   Traveling with us were 10 porters who had the responsibility of carrying and setting up our tents, cooking meals that even the French liked and carrying the ´luggage´for some of the older participants.

Our tour group taking the signature Machu Picchu photo
  It was amazing to see them running up and down the mountains with twice the weight I had and only sandals on their feet.  In addition, we had two tour guides who showed us the Inca sites along the route and were responsible for general organization and scheduling.   

In the end the hard work was worth it, but not something that I would repeat.  The views from mountain tops were amazing and at points you felt like you were level with the sky.  Other times we were on traisl through dense jungles on 500 year old paths.  We saw Machu Picchu in a pretty small group since the first buses don´t come into the local town until after 8:30 and we started our tour at 8am.  We were lucky enough to get our first sighting at 6:30am and actually get to the site at about 7am.

The gardens of Machu Picchu.

After the trip I relaxed in the public baths in the area which also gave me my first opportunity to change the same socks and shoes that I had warn for days (the socks went directly into the garbage).  It was also nice to get my first shower this morning....now two weeks of Spanish classes.

kmoeddel says:
Looks pretty awesome Joe and you look good for what you've been through. I'm glad you got to do it. Rest up now and enjoy your classes. mom
Posted on: Jul 16, 2007
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Rocks put in the road on the way t…
Rocks put in the road on the way …
Our tour group.  10 ports are on t…
Our tour group. 10 ports are on …
Dead woman´s Pass.  The highest p…
Dead woman´s Pass. The highest …
My first sighting of Machu Picchu …
My first sighting of Machu Picchu…
My tent mate finished the climb at…
My tent mate finished the climb a…
Our tour group taking the signatur…
Our tour group taking the signatu…
The gardens of Machu Picchu.
The gardens of Machu Picchu.
A cabin that is part of the Machu …
A cabin that is part of the Machu…
Ruins along the Inca Trail after f…
Ruins along the Inca Trail after …
Our campsite on day 1 of the trek.
Our campsite on day 1 of the trek.
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz