Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere// The Inca Trail Day 1 & 2

We are finally here. This Inca Trail was a vital part of my trip that I had been equal parts looking forward to and dreading. After hearing horror stories of diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, and just it being extremely difficult, I was nervous. I mean, I'm really active. I love working out, yoga, hiking, running, anything and almost everything but because I know I'm physically fit I didn't want to overestimate my abilities when it came to elevation of 14,000 feet above sea water...the air is thin, y'all but I'll get to that.
Day 1
Day 1 is not awful. It's steep but levels out in places and the scenery, as with every day, in unmatched to anything I've ever seen before. There were so many times I looked around and thought, 'Is this real life? Am I actually here?' It's moments like this in travel that I live for because I'm acutely aware of just how blessed I am to be wherever I happen to be. Truly, the ruins and the scenery are worth every out of breath second but again, I'm getting ahead of myself. We stopped at several ruins and spots along the way. There are a few little outposts with snacks and very limited "bathrooms." We hiked from about 9 am to about 4 pm, it's a longer day but the elevation isn't working against you yet. I could tell you more but I think the pictures speak for themselves for the most part.

I'm gonna take the time now to highlight the porters we had with us. I did this hike with G Adventures and I HIGHLY recommend using them. I heard horror stories about people getting sick from the food and lack of sanitation and I can say 100% that G Adventures is phenomenal. The porters, who each carry 20 kg aka 50 pounds each on their backs, are incredible. They hike this constantly, they leave earlier than we do with all the camping gear, set up tents, cook the food, have popcorn as a snack every day, break down the tents, give us hot water to "bathe" with when we get into camp that day whereas we're all huffing and puffing due to lack of oxygen and carrying maybe 10-15 pounds extra. It's unreal. I am truly of the belief that Peruvians have Inca magic in their blood that allows them to do this. I loved our porters and if I ever hike to Machu Piccu again, it's with them. My tour guide of the trip, Alessandro, was also amazing. He's basically my Peru BFF.


We got to camp around 4 pm and had the rest of the night to relax, wash up, and eat dinner. We each got a bowl of hot water which was heaven by that point. Taking off the hiking boots was bliss. The first campsite also boasted a toilet...and by toilet I mean a porcelain shell with no seat and to be honest I'd rather squat in the woods. If I've learned one thing it's I would rather use a nature toilet than some of the d-rity 'toilets' I've seen. Blech. But it's also bragging rights. What can I say? Sleep was fretful in anticipation of the dreaded Day 2...


Day 2
Day 2 I had read and been told is the worst. We climb to the highest point of the hike, 14,000 ft above sea level, and it's brutal and we start early at 7 am. I was nervous, won't lie. The beginning of the day wasn't so bad. I wasn't suffering from any elevation sickness, always a bonus. Mild incline for the most part and we also get to our last outpost of snack and provisions if you need them...from there on out you're on your own. After that pit stop, it's the hike to the finish aka the top. Average hike time to the top is about 2 hours (it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes) and it's brutal. It is a steep incline, steps galore, and while the first portion is in a wooded area and I felt like Katniss, it eventually opens up to mountainside but regardless, it's all beautiful...and so incredibly difficult. Every few steps I felt like I had to stop and take a breath. Legit. I was so tired I was almost in tears looking at the top, both because I was so tired and the thought of getting to the top was overwhelmingly emotional. The elevation is not your friend and you will be huffing and puffing the whole way through. Totes normal, but as an otherwise active person, it was a little hard on the ego. The views are, again, breathtaking. There is a steep incline and you can see the top and all the people in front of you, it's amazing. It was kinda cloudy that day so it felt like we were in the clouds.

The top though...the personal satisfaction I felt when I got to the top was unlike anything else I've ever felt. I felt like I could do anything at that moment. I was so tired, so out of breath, I cried. I actually cried I was so happy to have said I did this. Absolutely amazing and the most accomplished feeling ever. Looking back, I felt better and more proud on this day than on Day 4 when we got to Machu Piccu. Seriously.


The climb down was pretty treacherous. Steep 'stairs,' one woman actually fell and I had to play nurse. She was fine. And by 2 pm, it was all in a day's work. The exhaustion hit and I kid you not, my friend and I took 2 naps before dinner. It also started to rain and that didn't help. I felt especially bad for the people who took more time doing the hike and had to hike in the rain. That sucks. But again, the food was great, popcorn is always appreciated--it was a personal highlight for me--and we slept early and hard to prepare for day 3.

Stay tuned for Days 3 & 4...

3 comments:

  1. This hike sounds both scary and amazing at the same time! I don't know if I'd be physically fit enough to handle this level of activity, but I'd sure like to try. It sounds like something I'd love to see for myself, experience for myself!

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  2. These pictures are beautiful! You finished that hike in about half the average time - very badass!

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  3. One of my long term goals isn't just the Inca Trail, but to be fit enough to do it. Macchu Picchu and the Trail are definitely Top 5 Bucket List material, and to have the opportunity to do it would be amazing - and from your photos I can see how beautiful it is!

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