Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Trip Start Jun 20, 2003
20Trip End Mar 01, 2004
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What was really astounding was the fact that we were hiking with just our water and our snacks while the porters would carry all the food, tents, their equipment, and our stuff, basically just a ridiculous amount of weight on their backs. To top it off, they would run past us on the trail wearing just flip flops. And they were always in a good mood, and so very helpful
The hardest day of hiking was the second day up to Dead Woman's Pass, which is at around 14,000 feet. You start at 7 am and go straight up for five hours, which is hard enough, but I got a bit of altitude sickness right before were about to start! Our guide gave me some type of medicine, but I didn't even ask any questions about what it was, how it worked, etc., because I was feeling so awful. I will never forget going up that mountain. We would take five steps and then stop to just breathe before we took the next five steps. Ever so slowly we did make it to the top! And then after about 5 minutes because it was so cold at the top we started the knee-pounding down hill. Even with trekking poles, our knees will never be the same! And that was just the first pass.
It was all worth it on the fourth day, however, when we got our first glimpse of Machu Picchu in the sunrise from the Incan Sungate. It was truly an uplifting experience that made us forget all about our aches and pains. Machu Picchu is one of the few places that was not obliterated by the Spanish (because they never found it), and so you can have a good idea of what an Incan city was like and how amazing the Incans were at architecture. All the pieces of giant stone are held together by interlocking keys, similar to legos really, with no mortar at all
Peru has been fantastic. The people are quite nice, and the experiences of rafting and hiking the Inca Trail have been a great start to this trip. We're now off to the US for a wedding in Houston, and then to Africa!