Inca Trail - Day 1

Trip Start Dec 29, 2008
Trip End Mar 22, 2009

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Where I stayed
Camp site at 3000m

Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We had the luxury of leaving the hotel at 7.30am to get to Km 82 (the start of the Inca trail), because we had stayed in Ollantaytambo the night before. Bobby, our tour leader and guide for the Inca trail, was taking ages to get on the bus, but he didn't let us know that anything was wrong until we got to the start of the trail.

After buying last minute walking poles and socks from the local ladies, we got our group photo and proceeded down the path to the first checkpoint, where we had to present our passports. This is when we found out thatt we couldn't go any further, because there had been a mix up with our other guide, and he thought he was coming the next day. The ratio of walkers to guides has to be 8:1, and as there were 10 of us, we weren't going anywhere until our guide showed up and he had to come all the way from Cuzco.

We had plenty of time to enjoy the wildly rushing Urubamba river and play 'guess the nationality' as group after group of walkers passed by us. After orginally intending to be one of the first groups to leave, our guide finally arrived three hours later. We crossed over the suspension bridge and were finally underway.

The trail meandered along beside the river as Bobby explained to us about different plants and the geography of the area. It is called the Sacred Valley because there are four different eco-systems within the one valley, and therefore it is possible to harvest many different types of crops.

After a gradual climb upwards we arrived at a grassy campsite with a gentle stream trickling down beside it. This was our spot for lunch, and we soon found out that we were doing the Inca trail the luxury way. When we arrived there was a bowl of water with soap for each of us, before we were ushered into a tent to have lunch. The table was set with proper cutlery, table cloth and we each had our own stool to sit on. After soup we had about 4 plates of different foods to choose from.

Lunch was over all too soon, and after a visit to the flushing toilets, we were on our way again. As the afternoon progressed, we learnt about the Inca aquaduct systems that channel water from the snowy peaks and got our first taste of the mountain climbs to come. Along the way the locals were selling bottled water and chocolate bars, as well as corn beer (the Red Bull of the Andes), which Bobby wouldn't let us try because he was worried we'd get sick.  

As we'd started so late we weren't able to get to our planned campsite before dark, so we stopped at another empty campsite at 3000m. From the campsite we could see beautiful snow-capped mountains in the distance. The temperature dropped sharply once it got dark, and so we welcomed crawling into our sleeping bags after another delicious meal.
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