Day four we rose earlier, our guide Julio rushing us along. We were first in line at the last check point. When the check point opened we had our passports stamped and headed to the sun gate to watch the sun rise. Or as it turns out watch the fog. It was very cloudy and foggy but we sat and waited for it to clear. The girls all sitting together. When the fog cleared it was worth the wait, it is a glorious view.
Then approaching Machu Picchu the atmosphere changes. Suddenly there are loads of tourists. All clean and wandering around. You can definitely tell at a glance who hiked there and who took the bus. We were given a tour all around the site and it doesn’t disappoint. Then we climbed the smaller of the two hills that you see in pictures of Machu Picchu.
It is sketchy going up (and coming down) some of the paths are very narrow, with stone wall on one side and a sheer drop on the other. Just take your time, take it slow and you’ll make it. It is worth for the view of Machu Picchu from above and the glorious valley on the other side.
By the end of the day we were happy and tired. We took the train back to Cuzco, drinking beer to celebrate my friends birthday. It had begun with sunrise at the sungate and ended with having beers with new friends. Not a bad birthday! Also when we got back to Cuzco, some others in the group surprised her with a stuffed llama as a gift. She called him spitty after a llama that had spit at one of the ladies in our group.
Spitty now lives with me. My friend moved to London and Spitty just wasn’t going to fit into her luggage. I keep him safe at my home and smile everytime I see him.
Here is Spitty and pictures from Machu Picchu:
Day Three I tried to eat breakfast and was feeling okay when we headed out. There are a lot more stairs on day three. I was getting grumpy again and felt horrible. By lunch I managed to eat a bit and thought all I have to do is make it through today. I was drinking lots of water and started to feel much better after lunch.
The afternoon was glorious. I started to feel WAY better, my friend was feeling better, the sun came out and the walk was rolling again instead of steep ups and downs. We were chatting and laughing again. We wandered along, taking our time, looking at the beautiful flowers along the path. The two days before were so worth it for the afternoon of day three. It was amazing, this was everything I had hoped the Inca Trail would be.
At camp there was a shower but the line up was long and I was happy to just relax with a beer. Tomorrow I could have a proper shower back at the hotel. Word on the street was the shower had no water pressure and the temperature unpredictable. I would wait for a good shower.
By the time dinner rolled around I was hungry, even had a beer. The group were all in good spirits, we had done it. Lots of laughing and singing at dinner that night. Compared pictures and stories. We thanked our porters, had an amazing dinner. Chatted into the evening and then went to bed.
Our Porters and Cook, fantastic amazing group:
More pictures from day three:
Day two I was tired when I got up but a good breakfast and I was ready to start the day. Day two is much harder, there are stairs and then more stairs and then more stairs and then more … well you get the idea. Also my friend and I were both starting to not feel great. By lunch I managed to eat the soup but not much else, I loaded up on water and we headed out again. By the time we got to Dead Woman’s pass my friend and I were both tired, cranky, not feeling well and wondering why the hell we had signed up for this. That’s the picture at the top, do I look like I’m having fun?
I did learn a lesson though, another guy in our group reminded us to take pictures. We begrudgingly did. Without the reminder I wouldn’t have a picture of Dead Woman’s pass. No matter how you feel when travelling, no matter how tired or cranky you are, no matter if it’s your tenth church or temple in a day. TAKE PICTURES.
So we took the pictures, found a bathroom and headed out again. Now we were going down and my friends knees started to bug her. Then she had to stop for a bathroom break, I wandered up the trail, looking around and not paying attention. Then I heard my name and looked back at my friend clutching her pants and three porters running by laughing. Okay I’m the worst look out ever. I did improve, really I did.
At one point the hikers all congregate and relax and chat at one spot and you can look over and see the porters relaxing and chatting at a place further up. The porters are amazing. As I was walking along earlier feeling sorry for myself in my fancy shoes, with my poncho to keep off the rain and my walking stick. A porter went running by in sandles, soaked and carrying a pizza oven. I’m not kidding. He ran by, smiling and waved hello as he passed. I felt like a total loser, I have a small pack and he has a pizza oven and is happy. Okay one of us had it right.
I asked our guide at one point if the porters make fun of the gringos when they are sitting around together and he just laughed. I’m gonna take that as a YES.
It kept raining on and off and being tired and not feeling well by the time dinner came around I was just tired and cranky. I couldn’t eat much at dinner and was so tired and a little worried about the next day when I got back to the tent I cried, just because. I had been warned before by a girl that had done the trail the year before that this might happen. I thought at the time no way. Yes way, I cried and slept with my touque on.
I did the Inca Trail. It was a little bit of everything, beautiful, peaceful, fun, miserable, rainy, tiring but now looking back I would do it all over again.
Day one was exciting, up early, had a good breakfast, all packed, the day pack ready with water and a few snacks, rain jacket, first aid kit, everything I would need on the trail. The porters would carry our change of clothes and a few other things. You don’t really need much on the trail. By the end you will be stinky and need a shower no matter how many layers of clean clothes you bring.
At the beginning of our trek, we checked in and got our passport stamped. It was beautiful and sunny but not too hot. We started out optimistic, laughing and chatting as we crossed the bridge and headed off onto the trail.
The first day has one big hill but otherwise is pretty manageable. Plenty of time to wander along, looking at the scenery, time to say hello to the little pigs that have collars on that prevent them from escaping from the fences. It was gorgeous.
At camp there were cold drinks being sold by locals and I was marvelling at our porters. Always a step ahead of the group. Lunch ready by the time we reached the lunch spot and magically camp set up and dinner almost ready by the time we reached the place we would stay for the night.
I cozied into the tent that night and was tired but happy. At around 2:00am I woke up because I had to pee. I tried to go back to sleep but that wasn’t gonna happen. So I got out of my sleeping bag, tried not to disturb my friend who was still sleeping. Found my headlamp (if you don’t have one, get one, handiest things ever!) and out I went. I thought I could just find a little spot next to the tent as the bathrooms were down a hill and if I didn’t have to I didn’t want to go that far.
I stood up and turned on my headlamp and came face to face with a donkey. He was eating and looked at me like “Don’t you dare pee where I’m eating”. I guess I was gonna have to make the trek down to the washrooms. On the path there was another donkey blocking the path and I had to negotiate my way around him. He wasn’t gonna move. At the washrooms there was an ox who stared at me as I walked up and grunted at me when I got to the three outhouses. Now I think it was a warning to not pick the first outhouse.
I went in and shut the door, turned around and was just about to sit when I looked up. On the back of the door was one of the BIGGEST spiders I had ever seen. I froze. Thankfully I had the headlamp because otherwise I probably would have dropped a flashlight. He was on the door, I stood up and pulled my pants up, aplogized to the spider saying I didn’t realize this bathroom had been taken. Now I had to reach over by the spider to open the door but I didn’t want to. I had no choice so I eased the door open and jumped out, shivered and wiped my hands. I don’t like spiders. I looked back to make sure he wasn’t following me (not rationale I know but I’m not the only one that has done this).
The ox looked at me like “I tried to warn you”. The next outhouse I opened the door and looked around, peering on the back of the door before I sat down. It was empty and all was good.
On my way out I thanked the ox and headed back to the tent. I couldn’t get back to sleep right away because I kept wondering if there were more spiders but I figured the donkey outside would keep them away, wouldn’t he?
I did drift back off and wondered what day two would bring.
Our wonderful guide Julio:
Pictures from day one: