Written by Emily and Rachel
The few minutes following my waking this particular morning truly were
hellish. This is due to the fact that, in order of appearence, the
following realisations cruised into my mind: a. It was 8:47, b. This
meant that we had precisely 13 minutes to shower and get dressed, c.
Rach was still heavily asleep, d. There was still crap spread all over
the floor of our room that needed packing, and finally e. Today we
started the Inca Trail. Shudder.
As we raced around the corner of our room to the breakfast area, hair
in an entangled state with a jumper thrown hastily over to cover our
rank look more than anything, we settled down to a plate of
deliciously stale bread, completely impervious to our attemps at
hacking at it with the steak-knives we had been provided with.
Considering the now increasingly looming presence of the Inca Trail,
i.e. The most physically exerting activity we have ever signed up for,
we were mega disapointed with the lack of breakfast served for energy
After breakfast, the Peru Crew borded a slightly more ramshakle bus than we had become accustom to, but settled ourselves down for the half hour journey to the Inca Trail starting point. Presently, Jose introduced us to a rather sullen looking Peruvian man who had just clambered aboard the coach. His name, we soon learnt, was Pedro. He was to be our secondary guide, but looking at his ragin´ expression, i made this comment to Rach "Er, i think we´re gonna have to do some ground-work with this one to form a relationship, maybe i´ll speak to him in Spanish, that usually does the trick".
The journey down was a casual kamikase- we were convinced the guy
could not have possesed a driving license since we continued to
narrowly miss passing school children and the odd stray dog. This
hellish ride ended with Trevor standing up and yelling out to us all, "Is everybody
PUMPED?!" The word "pumped" actually caused me to be forced backwards
into my seat by its sheer force.
Arriving at the starting point, both sporting large, texan, brokeback style straw-hats with embroidered llamas decorating their circumference that we had been persuaded to purchase the previous day in Ollantaytambo by an expert salesman who insisted time and time again that we looked "muy bonita" in them, we began to be hassled to buy various poles and water containers which were all eagerly consumed by the rest of our group.
Infact, some even used their poles to walk across the flat, perfectly
paved road up to the passport control hut. At this point, Emily
remarked to nobody in particular, i.e just me, "even my drive has
tougher terrain than this!"
After accepting my laughable passport and gaining a cool machupicchu
stamp to add to the, limited, collection in my 8 page cream s***ter,
we were ready to make our sweet way up the first hill in sight. An
exciting times all round :)
2 minutes later and woah did we regret ramming our faces with food and
not spending any time preparing for this trek whatsoever. It was
tough, and what made it worse was when Jose told us in a jovial way
how these were only the "inca flats". God knows what "dead womens
pass" on day 2 had in store for us. Terrifying.
"Emily, is this ok to take a picture of?"
"Rachel, just one and then IMMEDIATELY turn it OFF!" Camera rations.
Let me explain- basically because both of us are massive, mindless
goons we both forgot to a) charge our camera and b) release our old
photos onto our 90's-style photobucket account. Which meant only 2
bars of battery and 100 pictures. For 4 days. On the most spectacular
walk ending with one of the new 7 wonders of the world. For 4 days.
Epic fail. Most if the trip was spent in this respect trilling "Robert!" and
gesturing for him to come over to take our picture from our precious
rations, mostly I'm sure agaisnt his will.
Apart from one INSANE uphill gradient, which ended with Jose
insisting on taking a hearty group photo of us in all our red-faced,
unfit glory, Inca Flats made up the majority of the first half of the
trek, and before we knew it, it was lunch time, mine and Rachel´s favourite time. Lunch was an unexpectedly lavish affair, set up by our new heroes, the porters, in a voluminous tent. It was set out along a lengthy tressle table, complete with table cloth, condiments, knives and forks and even napkins folded into the shape of condors. It was quite something. Lunch, a brothy soup and then some kind of omlette based dish was ravenously consumed, and we were then encouraged to take a sweet nap before beginning again. I settled myself down on a blue tarpaulin, in the vicinity of Rach, Clayton and Pedro, with whom i exchanged a hopeful smil e, the first step in the afforementioned ground-work. He did return my greeting, but then settled down with his cap pulled over his face and fell rapidly asleep. I mirrored his actions, and had drifted off before I knew it.
After a while, i was awoken by a piercing shout from Manuela, who i opened my eyes to see was mega leering over me, telling me "hey, you have to get up now, we´re leaving!" I blinked myself awake, and turned over to see Pedro still happily snoozing away under his hat. I replied to Manuela "Er, he´s not leaving..." To this, she simply sighed, and shouted "Well, wake those two up will you, we have to go now!" accompanied by a a gesture towards Rach and Clayton.
Back on the trail, and I was bounding up the many steps with shocking renewed vigour. A shame really that the renewed vigour lasted but 10 minutes before i was back to my old huffing and puffing self. The only thing that made this part of the trek faintly enjoyable was a progressing conversation between Rachel and I and angry, angry Pedro. Perhaps soon he would welcome us into his heart...
Once we had walked for about 100 more years, we were all hanging out, dripping with fit sweat at the last rest stop of Day 1. A quick enquiry to Jose revealled that a further hour of walking would have to be done before we arrived at the campsite. Whinging repeatedly, we all gathered up our crap and trudged off in a rampant mood. It was an unexpected occurence that we would round a corner after about 5 minutes walking, to find our porters hanging out in a hearty campsite full of fit red tents, ready and waiting for us all to just clamber on into. This was our first taster of Jose and Pedro´s warped sense of humour, and as you can probably imagine, was not appreciated all that much...
After dinner (and many leftovers for Rach and I of course) and a lolling group convo, we retired to our mega tent, swaddled ourselves in sleeping bags, jumpers, gloves, socks and hats, and tried to fall asleep, despite the intense, biting cold and fears of tomorrow, the dreaded Day 2...