Inka Trail 3 - The Longest and Wettest Day

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, April 6, 2008

The start of the third day could not be more demoralising, it was raining, cold, foggy, all clothes were humid (no matter where we stored them), and we had already been warned that it would be the longest walking day (between 8 to 9 hours).

In any case, the group was still smiling, we had left the big heights behind, and the map appeared to show a relatively flat route. In theory we started at the camp at 3.600 metres and should end at 2.700 at Wiñay Wayna, leading us to the conclusion that it should be downhill....wrong!

We still had 3 smaller passes to climb, and although their altitude was nothing compared to the Dead Womans Pass, they were still uphill, and the wet and foggy weather did not make it easier.

The good thing, was that we would again have explanations on different ruins along the way from William, so that would break up the route. We would also stop for a relaxing 1 hour lunch at Chaqurocha (in theory to dry off a bit).

The photos show some of the different sceneries along the route (sadly the fog did not allow for long distance scenery pictures). There was all sorts along the route (tunnels, jungle, lakes) so even though it was long it kept us going.

During most of the day we would walk along as a group and meet at certain points in order to get historical explanations from William. This lasted until the last pass at Phuyupatamarka when we were finally allowed to go at our own walking rythmn.

At this point Marcos commented with Veronika that there were only 2 showers at the last camp and that to avoid long lines. Therefore a speed up was necessary. William commented that there was 1.5 hours left of walking from the third pass to the last camp, but Marcos decided this was not for him and tagged on to 2 porters that were walking fast. As a result Marcos managed to be the first in the camp and in the showers with only 50 minutes walking time!

The feeling of having a hot shower after 3 days walking in the rain was that of a luxury! Veronika soon joined and also managed to avoid the long waits that developed a bit later.

The third night is the one where all the groups celebrate having done the Inka Trail (even though there are still 2 hours walking left to Machu Picchu). The cooks prepare their best foods, and there is a bar at the camp selling beer and playing loud latin music.

Also, this is the last night with the porters who then return to Cusco, so all the trekkers get some cash together and via a nominated President make a speach and hand over the tip for the porters and guides. Marcos was nominated President of the group and he made a short speach which involved asking Pachamama (Mother Earth for the Inkas and Peruvians) for good luck for the porters. We laid down a cloth on the ground and offered some coca leaves (each in their own language) to Pachamama for their good health.

The night soon developed into dancing and having a few drinks, with the time pressure on our shoulders as we all knew that we had to get up at 4am in order to walk to Machu Picchu and arrive before the tourist trains. Although it was difficult we all managed to get into our tents by 11pm and get a few hours sleep.
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