2 April 09
Inca Trail Day Two.
Tee hee hee!! Our guides have just congratulated us with a special hot concoction of pineapple, apple, lemon, cinnamon, coca leaves and sugar. And oh, did I mention rum? *hick* We have been singing merrily, much to the annoyance of other campers. *hick*
You know what that means… WE MADE IT! You beauty! *hick*
I won't lie. It was a very tough day. But I'm proud to say, there wasn't a moment where Tim and I thought that we couldn't go on… ok, perhaps at lunch, after we had hiked uphill for two and a half hours and then downhill for an hour and a half on steep, uneven rocks where my knees started to really hurt and I thought, "only half a day done?", I may have had a fleeting thought that perhaps I might die… ha ha ha
Well, it began like this. Our wake up call came a little too soon, but we were greeted with tea made with celery and carrot to perk us up and a bowl of warm water in which to wash our faces (its these little things which made our porters so great).
We would have to hike over our first mountain peak today - Dead Woman's Pass, as it is affectionately known - which sits at about 4,200m above sea level. Our guides told us it would be some 4 hours uphill. Tim and I and a few others did it in just two and a half! SMASHED IT! That's not to say it wasn't hard. If its not the pain in your muscles that gets you, it's the shortness in breath from the lack of oxygen at this altitude!
To give a better picture of the steepness we had to climb, we climbed UP 900m (almost 1 kilometre) in just 7km AND in two and a half hours… So, you can only imagine the sudden changes in altitude we had to deal with and just how 'uphill' that climb was. I owe it to my sticks for getting me there. I heart my sticks.
Lunch was at the bottom of the other side of the mountain, so we had to trek down for an hour and half to get there. To be honest, I found it harder hiking down then up. My short legs got absolutely caned when having to walk down steps which were almost, it seemed, 1 metre tall! And my knees…oh why do you continue to pain me?? (ha ha)
But, it was SO nice to get to camp for lunch. More soup to warm our tired bodies. At this point, it seemed too hard to get up again. It was a challenge, but we did!
We ended the day, climbing up and over another mountain peak, this one steeper, but not as high, as Dead Woman's Pass, to our next campsite. Another three and a half hours or so…
A LONG DAY! 17km of hiking at altitude! Did I mention we smashed the 'estimated walking time'? he he he
One thing I will say, is that you get so focused on getting to the next campsite, that you forget to stop and take in the beauty that surrounds you! It almost feels like you're in a competition with yourself to see how fast you can get there… But, I did take a few moments to take a breath and a few snaps, however, the pictures just won't do the place justice. It is absolutely magical. You can see why the Incas worshipped the mountains and everything in between… (another sooky moment for me).
We walked from jungle to highlands, through sun and clouds (oh yes, we were in and above the clouds, people!) with Inca ruins appearing along the way. Ahhh! It was absolutely spectacular! WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE THE BEAUTY!! It actually looked computer-generated. It was THAT beautiful.
Our bodies ache. My knees are throbbing too.
Our clothes are wet from sweat and dirty, but out in the wilderness there are no showers (only squat toilets - ha ha). Thank God for baby wipes!
Bring on Day Three.