Day 7 : The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu.  How can you even think about visitng Peru and not hiking the Inca trail to Machu Piccchu. We're back from a 4 day adventure and the Trek was amazing, long, wet and worth every minute. One problem ... we started off the night before at a new restaurant. Big mistake. You saw the Guinea. Well he was pretty pissed at us the next day.

The Inca Trail in Peru is one of the world’s most famous hiking trails. Starting from the Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River and ending at the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu, the 45km trail takes three to five days to complete trek was for 4 days and we had a group of 11 + 8 porters, 1 cook and 2 guides. Started off at about 6,800 ft - up to 14,000 - down again to about 6,500 ft.

(trek) Day 1 was fairly easy. About 5 hours or so of moderate climbing.  So when we powered through to the first camp site pretty early in the day we realized there is not much to do. Maybe we need a different game plan.....

The first day of hiking was pretty chill. The trail itself winds through a combination of high altitude mountain ranges (the Andes) and dense subtropical forest.
Day 1: 1st camp site. Hanging with Sean and Fleur. New Zealand version of us. Dating for years and fine with it.
A nice little break - who brought the wine???? Hiking the Inca Trail requires that you be in relatively good physical condition. Though the hike is not in itself extremely difficult, the altitude, which rises in excess of 12,000 feet will make it difficult for people like Geoff.

(trek) Day 2 was the hardest of the four days.  7+ hours of steep, rocky climbing with uneven knee crushing stairs up to Dead Woman Pass at 13,779 ft.  And I was sick as a dog all day. Is it the Altitude, the 24 hour flu... or the guinea Flu.....not sure? We camped at Pacaymayo camp at alpine level. Every night the tent sites are set up by the porters before we even get there - that is a nice treat.  They are an amazing crew. Knowing I was sick, the porters knocked on my tent every few hours and had me drink hot wild celery tea - which is said to take away any signs of fever and chills. Well it worked because the next morning I felt almost back to normal.

Day 2: started out pretty good.
The thinker....
Camp Day 2 site.
We met this little guy along the way.
.....and the sickness started to kick in.

(trek) Day 3 was about 7 hours of hiking. Definitely the best day of the three so far.  Along the entire trek we got to stop and explore smaller ruins that no one even really knows exists along the Inca trail. They were pit stops and resting pointe from the original trail. That was a great highlight. Day 3 was about 7 hours again of ups and downs until we hit the "last stop before the Ruins". An Oasis... A cush campsite with showers, dance club and Cervasas galore.  As we hit the ridge above Machu Picchu, the sun was rising. A must do for sure. the way there are smaller ruins used as pitstops and messenger posts along the entire trail. Learning a lesson from Day 1, we took our time and really soaked in our location and experiences. Sean, Fleur, Brian and I were always the last to leave each stop (by a long shot) - strategically to take the best people free photos! There is no point getting to a campsite early when there is nothing to do there except eat dinner and go to sleep. Early in the day the hike was mostly climbing switching to a steady downhill of stone stairs until we hit the last campsite at Winayhuayna before the Ruins.  Now this campsite is an Oasis... A cush campsite with showers, a dance club, and chef made meals.  Did I say Cervesa?!

Day 3 started a very long day of all stairs.
Day 3: Decending to a small ruin. There are 30 total Inca sites along the way.
Day 3: Decending to a small ruin. There are 30 total Inca sites along the way.
Maybe the first spiral staircase ever?
Day 3 Last stop campsite before Machu Picchu. They have showers, a bar, real food! ahhhhhh.
All stairs - All day
Brian and Sean, hot tubbin it Inca style
Heading into a new climate zone on the trail
We came over a small peak to see this! Our view for the remainder of the hike down.

Oi! Why on earth am I laughing at 4am?! That NEVER happens.

(trek) Day 4 Our final day, on the Inca Trail began at 4am. (YES, A.M.) Really let that sink in. It was cold.  And raining. And dark. And 4 AM!!!!  But, so exciting, because this is what we worked for. Have you ever tried changing clothes while caccooned inside a speeling bag?  its not easy I tell you. UN-like camping in Colorado, We simply got up, had a hot  breakfast waiting for us and simply hit the trail.  No breaking down the tents, no packing up and no carrying of anything down the hill. I like this porter business.....

See you at Machu Picchu!

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