Inca Trail Day 2: Operation Touch the Nipple
Trip Start Sep 28, 2006
99Trip End May 04, 2007
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hippie-ville hometown Santa Cruz but with which not too many of my trek-mates
After packing up, we met our 19 porters and our cook.
Today's hike consisted of climbing 1100 meters up to Dead Woman's pass (aka "the nipple")
There was a huge difference in the weather today compared to yesterday. Whenever I was not walking (and even when I was at times) I was FREEZING and wishing I had brought my scarf and hat. It started pouring just as we entered our lunch tent, and we were all feeling quite fortunate to have had such precision timing once again (I am laughing bitterly at that statement right now). We enjoyed another tasty lunch of hot soup, beef and veggie stir-fry, spring rolls, veggie burgers, apple pie, and tea. I overate at breakfast and overate once again at lunch (so hard not too when the food is so good and when you are like me and just eat if food is in front of you, regardless of whether you are hungry or not). Needless to say, I was not feeling super energetic when it was time to start climbing again at 12:30 pm, especially since the rain was still coming down in buckets. I wish we had pressed on to the campsite, since it only took me two and a half hours to get there from the lunch spot. I was moving very quickly though, especially at the end when I was dying to get out of the rain and practically running down the mountain.
I walked with Justin after lunch, which was very enjoyable despite the freezing rain, wind, and difficulty of the hike. It took an hour to reach Dead Woman's Pass, and the hike primarily consisted of very steep stone steps (like most of the Inca trail). Here is a view of the trail curving around the mountain from about halfway up to the pass
I was pretty bummed about the rain.
part of the trek. It would have been nice to chill for a bit to appreciate the beautiful
views, but there was
nothing to see but pure white and the rain was coming down in sheets. The weather also made it incredibly difficult to take pictures. My camera was pretty soaked despite being in its little case that I made for it and being underneath all of my "waterproof" layers, so I didn't want to take it out (and couldn't get to it very easily anyway). When I did take pictures the lens got rain drops all over it and of course my cleansing cloth was somewhat dirty and wet so cleaning it was not very productive. Nevertheless, I did take a pretty nice video just before reaching the top (featuring a lovely shot of the nipple, Justin, and one of the porters passing us)
Although slightly disappointed, I was in fairly good spirits thanks to Justin. We had a great time joking, singing (great acoustics, on the way down at least), and being silly.
The last 1 1/2 hours of hiking was very treacherous,
I crashed in my tent as soon as I arrived, soaked and not really sure what to do with myself, my wet muddy boots, or all of my other wet items that I would inevitably have to put on for teatime, dinner, and the following freezing morning (read: NOT FUN. Absolutely excruciating in fact). I managed to set aside a pair of socks, a sweater, two pairs of long underwear bottoms and a top, my fleece and a sleeveless shirt in my pack so that I would have some dry things to change into (for aspiring Inca trail trekkers, it is VERY important to keep a set of dry clothes, as nothing dries at altitude, especially if it is pouring nonstop as it was in this case, and it is beyond freezing the second night), but of course I only had one pair of pants that I had worn and even with all of my clothes on I was SO cold. Furthermore, we arrived at the campsite fairly early, so we had all this free time to explore the surrounding areas, take in the views, mingle with the other trekkers, etc but could not do any of these things since it was still raining...and raining...and RAINING. UGH!
After tea time, we had two hours to kill before dinner. I was feeling kinda sick to my stomach (too much chocolate, popcorn, and empanadas at teatime--punishment for being such a piglet!) and was (surprisingly) dying to walk it off a bit. The rain had let up slightly so Justin and I took a spin around the neighboring campsites, only to return five minutes later when the rain started up again. Everyone was hiding in their tents anyway. So much for that.
I felt increasingly sick after dinner, as I was an idiot and once again ate a ton of food when I was already feeling terrible. We finished up around 8 pm, and when Jubinal told us we could hire an unofficial porter for the third day if we wanted to I caved and gave him my 60 soles. I felt like a total wimp once again, but today was so wonderful, at least in terms of not having to carry all my stuff, and tomorrow is our longest day--18 km instead of 12 km of hiking, which translates into about 8 hours of hiking. I am praying that the weather will clear (even though we are going through the incredibly humid cloud forest) and that I will be able to appreciate what is apparently the most beautiful day of trekking.
Since it was still pouring, Justin and I went straight back to our tent. We sang along to songs on his ipod (not enough battery power to finish "The Beach" sadly) and had a great time serenading our neighbors--American and Australian idol as Heather (the Canadian) put it. We finally crashed around 9:30 pm. It had been a long, tiring day, and we had an even longer one ahead of us!