The Inca Trail (Day Two)

Trip Start Jul 31, 2006
Trip End Aug 24, 2006

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I much prefer the name Warmiwanusca to Dead Woman Pass!!!

That`s what we were facing today.

At a height of about 4200 m, the biggest challenge today involved overcoming the first of three mountain passes on the trail.

As a whole, it took our hiking group about 5 hours to climb to the top of it. There were numerous lengthy stops along the way, but from the moment we left our campsite we were travelling uphill.

About half way up the mountain, we found the last of the ladies who were selling snacks and water. I reached this point about half an hour before the rest of the group, and had enough time to fill myself up with much needed nosh and libations. Once everyone had arrived, we sat there for another half hour. I found it extremely difficult to get going after this. It`s easy to cool down when you`re not moving in the Andes.

About 1.5 hours later, I finally reached the top of Dead Woman Pass. By that point, I was panting and wheezing, and absolutely run-down. The last 100 metres were the worst. So close but so far. Looking up at the other groups who had already made it, was like rubbing salt in the wounds. Before reaching the summit, I had started to succumb to walking about 10 metres and stopping... 10 metres and stopping... and so on and so forth.

I was the first of our group up, and subsequently never got an applause. (Sniff) As each person gets to the top, their fellow group members applaud their accomplishment. But at the same time, if you`re the last up, even though you may get the cries of encouragement, you also get the dreaded faces looking down on you.

The rest of Day Two is pretty much all downhill from Dead Woman`s Pass. I found it difficult to navigate the cobblestones as I came down the otherside of the mountain.

We arrived at our campsite, Paqaymayo, around 2pm. Thankfully lunch was waiting for us. We spent the evening there and were more than happy to leave the "deceased old hag" behind.
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