Inca Trail: Day 3
Day 3 turns out to be a brilliant day. It is challenging but I feel good. After an early climb we are treated to some incredible scenery and views, in particular a far off snow capped mountain range complete with its own glacier. We then dip down into another valley within which we explore yet another Inca sight. Given the name of the trail I wonder why this surprises me.
At midday we progress into a subtropical forest containing a diverse range of plants including cicadas, bamboo and forest ferns. The path we follow throughout the day is incredible. Its paved with granite blocks and according to our guide it is the original path of the Incas. It comes into its own after lunch (tasty as ever) when we traverse the most spectacular terrain.
Before us lies the splendour of Peru covered in fast moving, frail cloud that comes and goes like a stage curtain revealing new scenes as we move along. Its because of this mist the area below us is referred to as the cloud forest. I quickly become enamoured with this stage of the trail. The sheer scale and diversity of this place is difficult to describe in words. I take a multitude of photos trying somehow to capture what lies before me.
In the early afternoon we reach yet another Inca sight. Impressive in its design, it seems to hang delicately off the mountain side. From here we make a very steep, rapid and relentless decline of one and half hours duration to our final camp site. The path is paved and has a number of large steps. My knees take a beating but Ruth and I arrive without incident.
The rest of daylight is used to explore an Inca site only 10 minutes away from where we will camp. This site is incredibly steep and overlooks the valley running all the way down to the Urubamba River. As night approaches I brave another ice cold shower. As I did the evening before I scream like a girl, much to the amusement of our porters who must think me a strange gringo in deed.
The porters continue to overwhelm me in terms of their physical endurance and work ethic. We thank them after dinner and provide a monetary gift on top of their earnings. It's not enough but at least a gesture of our gratitude. Shattered but content we get to bed. Tomorrow we wake up at 330 am to make an early start. Mach Picchu awaits.