The Inca Trail.....

Trip Start Sep 26, 2005
Trip End Dec 12, 2005

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Inca Trail. We started off our four day hike with a bus trip to just outside a little town called Ollyantaytambo (sp?). The group was 14 of us, 11 brits, 1 kiwi, 1 dutch girl (my tent buddy), and me. Plus, two guides, 1 cook, and 20 porters (no, that is not a typo - 20!). The first day of the trek was pretty mild, as we passed through the ticket control - which makes sure that less than 500 people trek per day (including porters - making about 180 gringos per day), it started to rain. So, for the rest of that day, we had ponchos on and off. We walked through some beautiful valleys, with one serious uphill for the day, and got into camp at about 4pm that afternoon. Not a hard day, but preparation for the second day, which everyone says is the hard one.

The porters that were on our trek were absolute stars. We puffed our way up hills that they cheerfully ran up, yelling ´vamos, vamos´ or ´areba, areba´ to us the whole way. They carried enormous loads, some of them larger in volume then the little men themselves. But they say, allegedly, the weight of the loads is regulated and no porter can carry more than 25kgs. The meals on the trek were ridiculously good. The cook providing three course feasts at all main meals, and tasty popcorn, and snacks whenever we seemed to stop for a breather.

Day two we climbed up and up and up, or so it seemed. Dead Woman´s Pass, the highest pass on the trek is 4215m. I took it slowly, and made it up without too much strain, for me it was all about plodding, not going fast, just step by step. The pass was freezing cold, the wind and rain... my poor little fingers were frozen on my walking stick, so I wrapped a towel around one hand, taking turns holding onto my walking stick. From this pass it was 6km down to our campsite, at something around 3500m. After a cold, cold night, we started our third day of trekking. I enjoyed the third day of trekking the most, it was a lovely mix of nature, ruins, and up and down - not just all uphill like the day before. It was our longest day, we left at 6am and got into camp about 5pm.

The third night was at a lower altitude two-six or something like that, and it was so much warmer. We were woken for our last little bit of trekking at 4am, and set off soon after for Machu Pichu. It was only about two hours to the Sun Gate, which is a viewing point for MP, and as we climbed the last little bit, we rounded the corner to see MP, and there it was... cloud! Hilarious, we couldn´t see anything, the cloud seemed to clear everywhere but over MP itself. Very funny. So, after a snack there we headed down to the ruins. It was very cool. The ruins are in great shape, well reconstructed. Our guide gave us a tour for a couple of hours. I was very impressed, particularly by the use of the sun and the equinox in the building. There are rocks that point exactly to the compass points, and these rocks which have marks on them, which is were the sun hits this rock at the equinox, and things like that... sorry a poor explanation, but very impressive. The other thing that struck me was how green the grass was, almost luminous, it was cool with llamas everywere acting as lawnmowers.

In summary. I had a ball. It was very impressive, and I am really happy with how my attempt at trekking went. So much better than my previous crack at Colca Canyon...

Apologies for being so crap at keeping up to date. I aim to do better over the next month. Keep posted for new postings over the next days, including... Lake Titicaca - the highest navigatable lake in the world, comnig to Bolivia - the easiest border crossing in the world, and mountain-biking Death Road - the UN ordained most dangerous road in the world. What fun. Love to all. Oh, and pictures following soon. xxxx
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