The start of the Inca trail.. we took a bus ride to km82 where we setup our equipment and prepared ourselves for the four day trek. First stamp in the passport at the control gate, we set off. A steady climb on Day 1 taking in all the scenery, visiting the Inca ruins on the way, and passing lots of horses and stubborn donkeys. We camped up about 3pm, just as the rain had settled in for the night. We had 23 porters carrying all our equipment, the food, pots and pans etc, and they still managed to get to camp before us and prepare a 3-course meal! Just unbelievable.
Day 2: we had been told this was going to be a very different day. As soon as we left camp at 5am we followed the path up a steep 45 degree incline for about 30 mins (porters still running past us). The incline steadily continued for another couple of hours through dense forest then open mountain paths. The destination was Dead Woman's Pass: a steep mountain range at over 13,000ft, named after the shape that was left in the mountain of a woman laying down. The last hour before reaching this highest point of the trek was very challenging but extremely rewarding when reaching the top. Our heads were literally in the clouds at this point. After a 20 min stop we then descended as quickly as we had come up, down steep steps to base camp. We passed waterfalls and humming birds. We arrived at camp ahead of schedule after 11km and were again greeted by the applause of the porters who had still managed to overtake us and set up camp. A quick dip in the ice-cold river we later had dinner. I then decided to have an equally ice-cold shower.. played cards until it was time for bed (9pm!).
Day 3: we set off in the early hours up another steep incline. It took a while for the leg muscles to wake up but eventually we got into a stride. This was going to be a longer day; about 16km over undulating pathways. We visited more ruins where the guides explained about the unique relationship between the Inca towns and cities we had already visited. We then reached the second highest point of the trek overlooking vast mountain ranges, green lakes and some of the original Inca trails. We descended back down to a quick stop off point for lunch. The terrain had become a lot more jungle-like with creepy trees and caves as we were nearing Macchu pichu. On the way down you could suddenly see through the cloud cover over to the green mountains. We took a small detour to an Inca site set into the mountains. It was like we on top of the world looking down! We reached camp about 16:30, having drunk a bit too much celebratory rum on the way down. We continued the rum until late...
Day 4: a 3am start with a run-hangover having just taken my first antimalaria tablet. Not feeling great at all but was keen to reach the end. It was a very misty trek through very steep paths with a shear drop to one side. We could here the river roaring below us and it created a very strange atmosphere. Everyone walked in silence as we navigated the path. We arrived at the Sun Gate; a unique overhang in the mountain where it is possible to see the sun rising. However the dense mist had completely covered the view. We continued down for another 30 mins and were told we had arrived. Everyone looked in astonishment... still dense mist covered the view. 10 mins later something appeared through the mist. The top of a high green mountain was lit up by the sun light. The mist started to disperse and what appeared was incredible. We had arrived at Macchu pichu; one of the 7 wonders of the world. It truely lived up to it's reputation. We spent the next few hours walking round this amazing lost world of the Incas. The sun was very hot. I got the picture-postcard shot from the top! We left the site by bus, spent a few hours in the Machu pichu town for lunch and then got a train back to Ollantaytambo. Finally a coach back to Cusco. What an amazing four days....