Nat and Beck Go Large!
Day 1: Woke up this morning feeling very ill and nervous...four days of walking has never been my idea of a great time...however, the Inca Trail is something I've wanted to do for a long time and youth, if nothing else, is on my side, so here goes. We got a bus to a town just before the start of the Inca Trail to buy last minute snacks, walking sticks and water, before reaching the first checkpoint and the starting point of the Inca Trail at KM 82 arund 9am. We walked 12km today, and there was very little hillage involved (the Incas saved that for tomorrow), so not feeling too stiff yet! I'm sharing a tent with Sarah from our tour group, and we retired to bed around 8.30pm after dinner, ready for the 5am wakeup call. Day 2: The day I was dreading...and rightly so! Today consisted of 6 hours of constant uphill walking and steps (which are even more of a killer on the old pins). Me and Esther have taken residence at the back of the group, near Julio and the oxygen! At the 1st rest point we were delighted to be told we were only 15 minutes behind the super trekkers, but that soon increased as the way up to Dead Woman's Pass grew steadily more challenging. The altitude does not help when you are struggling up a steep mountain path, and I was finding it really hard to take more than a few steps without having to stop to catch my breath. Julio (our hero) took mine and Esther's backpacks to help lighten the load (which was slightly pathetic seeing as porters carry up to 20kg up this damn path), and we were gradually moving our way further up the mountain. Halfway up, we couldn't even see where we had started from the last rest point, and we could finally see the top, and the rest of our group waiting for us up there. I was about 10 steps from the top when Julio challenged me to "a competition to the top"...I took a couple more steps, then from somewhere found a little bit of energy to sprint the last few steps to the top of Dead Woman's Pass...4215 metres above sea level! We had group pictures taken at the top, then we had another 3km downhill to walk to our campsite for the evening. Day 3: Today was the best day of the trek for me. The views were gorgeous, and after overcoming the 2nd high pass at the beginning of the day, was a pretty easy walk through the mountains...I even caught up to the super trekkers! We broke for lunch around 2pm, then we carried on walking for another hour and a half to reach our campsite by the river (usually people camp next to where we had lunch, but due to a landslide a few weeks before, the entry to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail, the Sun Gate, was closed, so meant we couldn't watch sunrise from there, and would have to get the bus up from the town with all the daytrippers...bloody rude if you ask me). Me and a few others decided to wash our achy feet in the river....nearly caught hypothermia, it was so cold! We celebrated our last full day of walking (19km today) with a beer, then as always retired to bed early for the early rise at 4am in the morning! Legs are finally feeling the effects of the mass amount of exercise they've had in the last few days...are soooo sore! Day 4: Up at 4am, and we walked along the railtrack to Aguas Calientes to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu in time for sunrise. Only just made it in time!! Had to share the view with a truckload of Japanese tourists (of course...do these people work??) but was worth the efoort the last few days has been to get here. Becky joined us for our tour around the Inca site, then we were free to have a wander on our own before heading backinto the town. Was really surreal being at the place we had walked so far to get to, but is by far the best and hardest thing I've ever done. Love Nat xxxxxxxxx