Dreaded day 2 of the hike. This one we were warned is a tough one. Only 10kms but with an elevation gain of 1200m (taking us to 3,940ft elevation). Yikes.
After breakfast the porters were left to pack up camp, while we headed straight into the hike. The first four hours were up hill and by that I mean steeply uphill over stones, so really tough going with the lack of oxygen and altitude working against you. Jackson, our tour guide had us going at a slow and steady pace, but by the time we reached the first mountain pass after 4 hours of up hill walking (Dead Woman's Pass or Warmiwanussca) we were all extremely tired. The views from the top of the Andes were incredible and I don't think my camera will do them justice unfortunately, as standing there at the highest point of the trek is an experience I want to remember.
After making this pass we had another 2 hours of downhill to our campsite. To be honest the downhill was as painful as the uphill, the steps down were rocks and some had huge step downs, as well as being very uneven. I had to concentrate for each step I made to not miss a footing and I was acutely aware of not wanting to pound down on my fractured tibia from last year.
One point I have to write about are simply how amazing the porters are. Each group has them and as you are trekking along feeling the burn, these generally pretty short and certainly thin guys run past you carrying 45 kilos of camp stuff (including the tourists duffle packs and sleeping bags). While this is no mean feat going up hill, it's even more astonishing to see them running down the steep steps of the Inca trails, especially as I am gingerly putting one foot down and then slowly the other, scared I might slip. The porters that start off after you always get to the campsite before you so your tent is up and a hot drink waiting. All that and carrying the heavy loads, incredible! We asked Jackson about our Porters as they don't speak much Spanish, let alone English. They are from the local rural communities and speak Quechuan. They would actually rather be doing this work than farming which is apparently harder, but I find that really hard understand as what they are doing on the Inca Trail seems almost an impossible feat by most peoples standards. Porters range in age from 17 years to around 65. Our bunch I will soon discover are extremely friendly and like to laugh and joke a lot. The three of us have been making a point of trying to learn a little Quechuan at each meal time. It's not a simple or easily remembered language, lol.
We arrived at the campsite around 2pmish and a hot lunch was waiting. More delicious food (always heavy on carbs) and after lunch we had a few hours to relax before dinner.
More great food for dinner and an early night since we were all really really tired from the hiking.