Hiking the Inca Trail

Trip Start Apr 03, 2003
Trip End Oct 01, 2003

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Monday, June 30, 2003

Hiking the Inca trail was something I had definitely planned into this trip before I left. I had also planned to do some pre-trip gym work to get fit to tackle this 4 day 50km hike. Getting hammered for the 10 days before the trip resulting in me being full of the flu was definitely NOT in the plan. Guess which route I took.....

So, after arriving in Cusco and hooking up with my friend Tom (who I met in Colombia) we proceeded to hit all the bars in town and basically make the most of Tomīs last 3 days in Cusco (he had been living there for 4.5 months). The pre-Inca Trail exercise consisted of walking the 5 mins uphill to the San Blas area where Tom had many friends working in bars and cafes. Now walking up hill in Cusco is no easy task when you take into account that this town is 2400m above sea level, so even walking between bars gets you out of breath. But nothing could prepare me for Dead Womanīs pass....

So the tour started at 6am on Wednesday where we jumped into buses to the starting place about 2 hours drive out of Cusco. Most of the other people on the tour knew someone else so I started chatting to another solo girl from America, Amy.

The first day was 14kms of easy walking, not too many hills, great scenery and most of the rest of the tour group seemed to be cool. We had a lovely guide and assistant and were pleased to see that the other SAS tour guide was a Hitler type who shouted orders every 5 mins.

Accommodation consisted of a 2 man dome tent situated in the hills. It got cold pretty quickly but luckily I had my lovely llama hat complete with flaps to keep my ears warm. And a Mars bar. So far so good.

Day 2 was another story altogether. Dead Womans Pass. My oh my.

I doubt I have ever exerted myself quite as much as I did on that day. The first section consisted of a 7km walk. Vertically. Or so it felt. We climbed 1200m in only a couple of hours to a height of 4200m. My lungs felt like they were going to burst and my legs turned to jelly. But despite my pre-walk fitness regime I was the 4th person up in our group, after the 2 triathletes and the girl who hired a porter to carry her backpack. So not bad going really.... but after climbing down the other side of the pass down what felt like (and probably was) around 1000 stone steps my knees gave out. In essence I turned into an 80 year old biddy. But it was great and the Mars Bar that I had saved for the end of the day felt like heaven.

Day Three was amazing. I found some energy from somewhere and managed to complete the 16km walk before anyone else in our tour. Must have been the Mars bar.

Day 4 and we finally reached Macchu Picchu after getting up at 4am and walking for 2 hours in the dark to see the sun rise over the ruins. They were cool. It was great to finally see them after hiking for 45km, but after seeing 10 other Inca ruins over the previous week I was kind of ruined out. But they were still amazing and I had great satisfaction in eating another Mars bar whilst gazing out across the city.

So thats my Peru experience so far. Drinking far too much (no surprises there then), hiking the Inca trail and eating about 10 Mars bars. Its all good.

Tonight Im off to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon (supposedly the deepest canyon in the world) where me and my friend Amy are going to hike down to the bottom and back up again. Better stock up on more Mars bars.....
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