Whitneys on Tour
With Jo hopefully over her tummy troubles, we were booked in for the 4 day Inca trail on 2nd January. We were looking forward to it but were a little concerned with the weather as we were in rainy season plus we'd heard a few tales that conditions could get pretty miserable in the current climate. We met our travelling group of 14 at a briefing the night before and they were a pretty nice bunch, the majority being English. Ominously as we were driven to our starting point it was raining but we were armed with our waterproof poncho's so what could go wrong? The first days walking was nothing too strenuous, around 10km with only one real uphill climb and fortunately the weather just about held so it was a pretty nice day with some decent views. Our team of 23 porters were already working hard for us. You really marvel at (and feel for) these guys. They are pretty small, just skin and bone really yet they lug round these huge weights around the trail at twice the speed of us mere tourists plus wait on us hand and foot, put up our tent and cook us great meals when we get to camp. For Jo and I this was a pleasant change form our other major trek, The Torres Del Paine in Chile were we had to carry everything and cook etc. We made camp late afternoon, ate a great dinner and started to feel nervous about day 2, which included the steepest climb. We were woken at 6am on day 2 and set off soon after 7am for the climb to 'Dead womans pass' which involved us ascending 1200m on one climb to a height of 4200m. Our altitude acclimitisation in Bolivia and previous trekking experience on this trip stood us in good stead as we made the climb without too much unpleasantness and we actually rather enjoyed it. You could see a fair few other's really struggling with it though. It was good too reach the top although views were limited with the cloudy, drizzly weather. The early afternoon involved quite a steep descent to our day 2 camp which we made at around 1.15pm just before it seriously started raining which we were most pleased about and we had the rest of the day off! Day 3 started again with the walking beginning at 7am with a steep ascent to start. We were taken through increasingly jungle areas which would have had some supurb views except for all the bloody cloud so we couldn't see anything!! At around lunchtime things took a turn for the worse as Jo's health deteriorated again with the return of her unpleasant stomach problems. The afternoons walk which involved a seriously steep descent to camp was a nightmare for her. Things got no better despite her taking numerous pills and she had a pretty horrible night having to keep getting up to go to the disgusting toilets in pitch black in the rain. On the 4th and last day we had to get up at 4am to walk to Machu Picchu. Jo was still far from well but our guide gave her a pill which we hoped would do the trick and we walked the two hour journey to Machu Picchu. The weather was pretty rainy and when we got there we could see the city but the spectacular mountain backdrop was obscured in cloud. With Jo still suffering we found a doctor who said she had parasites (common in these parts and particularly on the trail) and gave her some more pills. Her immune system is obviously low after the original bout of food poisoning that she's suscepible to just about anything stomach wise. We left the city a couple of hours early so that Jo could get some rest in the town half an hour away we we were due to have lunch. It was obviously dissapointing but with the weather being so awful it was doubtful whether we could see much more that day anyway. Therefore the Inca trail didn't turn out quite as we hoped due to circumstances. Another time, it would have been awesome. Stuart enjoyed the walk and Jo did for the first couple of days untill her health gave way again. It was good to have least done it, all 49km`s of it! As for the weather, well we knew it was rainy season and we had heard tales from previous travellers about 4 solid days of rain so at least we didn't get that!! Just a shame we couldn't get the views and photo's we wanted.