Last night was much colder than the first night but luckily my -8 degree bag and my thermals kept me pretty cosy. Day 3 of the Inca Trail is the longest day, 16 kilometres. We were woken at 5.00am and left about 6.30am. We started with a two hour journey upwards, to the 2nd pass, which was the highest point for today at 3750m. Then it was downhill for the rest of the day. At the 3rd pass, we were on top of a hill but we could not see any scenery for the cloud. Here we had a four course lunch, a calamari salad entree, noodle soup, pork stew and various potatoe and vegetable dishes, followed by a berry sauce sweet! How amazing is that! We once again congratulated the Chef. Our trek downhill now went into the "Cloud Forest", and it was beautiful. I loved the path through this section. We travelled down, down, more steps down, down again, and kept going down! I liked the challenge to pick the best course over the rough stones steps or downward ramp path
. I was going great guns. A lot of it has large steps so I had to go down one at a time sideways, swapping sides to even the stress on my knees. You have to keep concentration. I did slip a few times, but never went down, just jarred my knees straight or went over my ankle or stumbled. I found that most of the journey after lunch I was on my own. I quite liked that. I stopped to take photos of the sub-tropical forest quite often, however, the cloud persisted in hiding what was beyond the gorgeous path. The last section of the track to camp was half an hour of steep downhill, and it was so painful! Everyone complained about how hard it was. At least Ihad descended below the cloud level and go to see the valley with the river below. I got into camp at 4.15pm, now that is a long day to spend most of it walking downs steps! My knees were caning me by the time I got back. I collapsed in the tent having dried out from the damp conditions earlier, and no sooner did I get into the tent it started raining. Alisha arrived all wet. It continued through the night, slow and steady and saturating! We were even getting wet in the dining tent! We huddled in there eating popcorn and playing cards before we got yet another wonderful meal. It was our last night so we put together money to tip the porters. We all gave generously and we made speeches of thanks and praise. And played a couple rounds of Shithead. I won one round, that is, the first to get rid of all my cards. Tomorrow, is the day I finally get to see Machu Picchu. Yay!