July 27, 2013
Day 2 of our trek: Today was an amazing but challenging day. We were woken at 5:30 with a metal mug of sweetened, hot coca tea. We had half an hour to get ourselves organized before breakfast. This night spent was supposed to have been the coldest of all the nights of our trek. I had to get up twice to go to the bathroom and it wasn't too bad, beautiful night sky. After a good breakfast, we got started. Today was 9 hours of hiking with a 800m gain in elevation. It was tough for me to climb higher and higher with a tough switchback trail. We eventually made it to the pass with spectacular views of the awesome snow covered Salkantay mountain. We enjoyed taking lots of photos being that this would be the highest point of our trek. Then it was down into the cloud forest valley where the flora changed to lush green including wild orchids and bamboo! It was a lot of downhill now to get to our camp where there were quite a lot of tents set up, a 'hotel' , bar and lively crowd of hikers. We enjoyed now being lower and warmer and having arrived at our pre set up tents after a very long day of hiking. Happy hour was at 6 (fresh pop corn, hot chocolate and crackers) and dinner afterwards. Plans reviewed for tomorrow and all of us in our sleeping bags by 8 even though most other campers are up partying. Tomorrow we make it to the hot springs !!
One of the things that was quite challenging today was not only was it a steep climb up to the pass but I was suffering severe cramps in my gut. I thought this might have been because I took the acetazolamide medicine yesterday and this morning to help with the large altitude gain. Instead it gave me a lot of pain while breathing and did not subside until the end of the day. I did take the medication the day before arriving I Cusco then for 3 days afterwards which was fine, no symptoms and easily managed the altitude gain. I won't take this mediation again though after having such severe cramps especially when doing such a difficult hike.