4 days trekking, no showers, amazing result

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
Trip End Sep 15, 2010

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Flag of Peru  , Cusco,
Thursday, June 3, 2010

We were given a small bag to put 3kg of our clothes in for the next 3 days.  We met up with the porters and our guide who packed all of our stuff into the porters bags and we saw them haul 20kg on their backs up the trail.  The first day was very easy and locals who live along the trail sell everything from Coke, beer, and Snickers so you are never too far from the things you need!  We made a few stops along the way and saw some Inca ruins and finally stopped for lunch.  When we walked into camp, all of our 12 porters and chef were already there and clapped as we entered the campground.  Very rewarding!  We were welcomed with a drink, warm water to wash our hands, and a feast of a lunch.  It was the first of all of our meals on the trail that were absolutely gourmet.  We had a few more hours after lunch to walk and along the way the porters from all the groups pass you (some seem to be at a run with massive packs on their backs).  Once at our campsite we again had a warm greeting and our tents were already set up.  We had a snack of coffee/tea and warm popcorn and then around 7pm ate our gourmet dinner.  At night it got cold and the sounds of the local donkeys woke us up at night.  At this point I´m feeling pretty good, not too cold and a bit nervous about the big Day 2!

We were woken up by the porters at 6am and they had a hot drink and hot water for us to wash up with at our tent.  The porters introduced themselves to the group, 12 in all ranging in age from 20 to 54.  Most worked as much as possible as porters, spending multiple days away from their families in order to make a decent wage.  They are truly amazing people as they carry everything from propane tanks to tents to table and chairs on their backs, many of times running past the tourist trekkers.  Breakfast was served, quinoa oatmeal and crepes with apples, and then we headed out for what was supposed to be the hardest day of trekking to the first pass.  We hiked about 3 hours to the first pass, stopping about every hour to rest and have a snack.  Each hour got progressively harder and for the last hour to the summit you could see your destination at the top, which was nice to see where you had to go.  I stayed at the summit for about half an hour, it was freezing up there but the view was amazing.  It took another hour to walk downhill to where we were camping for the evening and I finally got to camp around 1pm.  None of us had the energy to move much before lunch but we had plenty of time to chill out at camp and reflect on what we had just done.  The weather steadily got colder and it was definitely the coldest night on the trek. 

Whoever said going downhill was easy was a liar.  After breakfast we climbed uphill for about an hour to the second pass (12792 ft) and then the rest of the day was spent mainly going downhill.  My 30 year old knees started to feel every step downhill and by the end of the day, I was officially exhausted.  We had an early lunch and our chef Raul served us 5 massive dishes (for only 6 trekkers and the guide).  There were many Inca ruins along the way that we were able to walk around, which was a great break from walking.  The day ended up being so long and we finally got to our last camp at 4:30.  I was starving so when popcorn was served for tea, I was super excited then dinner came just a short time after that.  The porters again came into the dinner tent and spoke on our last night.  After seeing them work so hard after these 3 days it is hard to imagine they are just going to come back and do the same in a day or so.  Most of them wore sandals the whole time and some would stuff grasses into the bottom as traction.  Unbelievable!  By 8pm we were absolutely exhausted and I think it was the only night I actually slept well and it was fairly warm!

We woke up at 3:45 so the porters could pack up camp in order to make the 5am train back to town.  We waited in the restaurant (the only place in the 4 days with electricity) and headed out on the trail when it opened at 5:30am.  We didn´t have to walk too far in the dark as the sun came up around 6 and we got to the Sun Gates, our first glimpse of Machupiccu, at 6:30.  It was an amazing site, a city built in the middle of mountains as well as on the side of one.  The Sun Gates were packed with gringos so we continued down to Machupiccu and of course took loads of pictures.  Our Inca Trail guide gave us a great tour of Machupiccu for about 2 hours.  Machupiccu is incredibly special as it is the only Inca site that the Spanish did not find and therefore did not destroy.  They´ve rebuilt it to what it would have been like and it must have been an amazing place.  The views were stunning but by mid-morning exhaustion and hunger set in.  After more pictures and wandering around the site, I took the bus down the mountain to Agua Calientes (Machupiccu town) ate lunch and went to the "hot" (more like lukewarm) springs.  At this stage any form of shower was welcome as after 4 days, we were looking a little rough.  We took the slowest train on the planet out of town and then switched to the most dangerous, wild bus ride to get us back to Cusco.  The train was washed out in the landslides earlier in the year and that was basically the only issue we had due to landslides on the whole trip.  When we realized we had actually arrived back to Cusco in one piece, shower and bed was all I could think about!  

The Inca Trail was truly an amazing experience and I was shocked at how good the food was and how amazing the porters were.  Warm drinks at the tent when they wake you up, applause as you enter camp, and watching them blow past you as you struggle with your small backpack to climb the hill were just a few of the highlights.  I guess Machupiccu was pretty amazing too!
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