Inka Trail 2 - The Hardest Day

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

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

The second day is always the toughest in a 4 day trek. You know what to expect and you still have 3 days of it! Not even 50% has gone by.

Of course, Marcos was up early and kept saying "Iīm going to beat everyone to the top". Veronika kept asking "Who are you going to beat?"...

Anyway. Up with the first chants of the mountain cock around 4.30 am, and having breakfast at 6am. It was a fabulous breakfast though, fruit, pancakes, toast, jam, coffee, coca tea...everything you could wish and the poor porters had brought it all the way up. We still donīt know how the cook managed to cook all this on a standard camping gas fire.

It was funny because William (guide) kept telling everyone how hard the day was going to be as the climb was going to be along very tough paths to 4.200 metres and the fact that oxygen was a luxury up there.

The more he said it, the more nervous most of the group was. Lucily for us we had spent the last 3 weeks as mountain goats up at heights of 4.700 and more, so our height sickness had disappeard in the Uyuni Salt Flats...

It was even worse phsycologically (is this spelt correctly?) as William was carrying 2 bottles (small) of oxygen for emergencies and kept telling stories of height sickness and how many people abandon on day 2.

Most of the group was already munching coca leaves to get some sort of magic energy. What they probably didnīt know is that coca leaves have little effect unless an alkaline is added (bicarbonate or burnt root of quinoa plant), so the coca just became a bit of a placebo.

There is little add to day 2 except the photos. It is a tough little climb. You need to stop from time to time (10 steps!) to catch your breath, and make sure you step on the correct stones to avoid slipping into the void or forcing your knees to much.

At the same time you have to remind yourself that there are porters rushing by, and you need to dodge the people who never read about the climb and just block the way moaning and crying (no exageration). Some people just crack on the second day climb. Its probably well over 10,000 steps upwards, and with the fog you just donīt see the end of it.

The pass at the top is at 4.215 metres and is called "Dead Womanīs Pass". Again, no one knows why exactly but versions are that women used to die if they tried to pass it (Vero didnīt!) or that mountains look like a dead woman (it was too foggy to check it)

Good news: everyone made it.
Better news: Marcos made it 20 minutes before everyone else with 12 kilos more
Even better news: Veronika made it 4th listening to Queen (we are the Champions!)

The experience is too good to describe.

And when one gets to the top? 2,000 plus steps downwards to the next camping! The knees just take a pounding as its not just normal steps, they go in all angles and sizes, and they are often wet or covered in slime or plants. Excellent practice for gym jazz!

The photos will explain a bit better.

End of day. Another great dinner, no shower, toilets did exist but looked like the Bagdad sewers after a heavy bombing. Most people were saying "did I really pay to do this"?

Good part is that everyone knows that the hardest day is over.
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