Tuesday, July 1st, 2003

Inca Trail, Peru

View of Machu Pichu with Huayna Pichu in background

Hiked the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu with a full complement of staff including cooks, English guide, and porters to carry our pretty stones and watermelons. Absolutely stunning scenery... and lots and lots of stone steps. The porters carry so much stuff on their backs and still manage to run up the mountains and make it to our camp hours and hours before us.


Amazing trip, we all got through it! It was a fair bit more rough than expected, as it’s a major tourist attraction, but in the end maybe that added to the fun. However there were a few snags….


Met a few people from France, Germany and the US who we went out for drinks with in a town near Machu Picchu after the trip. Our group was divided into us three, the Frenchies and the German couple. Strange conversations here speaking in English, broken French, Spanish and staring blankly when it switched to German, but its lots of fun meeting people with different ideas bout things. We ate like kings and were waited on by the porters for everything.


Saw all sorts of exotic flora and some weird insects as well as some unpleasant familiar ones. Tony has what we think is a spider bite on his leg that is now the size of a quarter and quite hard and dark purple. yum. One night the tent we were staying in didn’t have a fly you could close so we slept with the door partially open and in the morning we had a large furry spider in our tent...


The first day V was so sick with food poisoning! Was up sick all night before we left Cusco and could hardly keep anything down, especially everytime we went up a hill, which was quite often. Plus so dehydrated from not keeping any fluids in her. It was also super hot out… this equalled to a not so fun first day unfortunately. But made it to camp in one piece after about 6 hours of hiking. Tony was great and took most of the stuff in V’s pack, which she handed over very reluctantly. We ended up hiring porters as we didn’t know if V would be feeling better in the morning….for 45 soles (about $18) we hired a porter to carry 20 kilos…awesome deal! One highlight of the day was seeing Mount Veronica! Big snow covered mountain ... very nice! Now we just need to find Mount Solimano, apparently its around Arequipa somewhere….


The second day was way better! V felt much better and managed to keep her food down. The second day was the hardest one as we climbed 1200m to the highest point in the Inca trail at 4200m. We had bought a bag of coca leaves and this black olive looking thing that makes the leaves juicier when you chew them up (really gross!). We chewed up some leaves a couple times that day to give us more energy, it worked! Gross tasting but it worked. Mouth was all numb, tongue all tingly when I drank but interesting. Unfortunately, on the second day Jocelyn was feeling really dizzy due to the altitude so once again we were at the end of our 11 person group.


The third day, Canada Day, was the best. We were all feeling great so it was the easiest day for us! The longest day, 16km ... saw lots of Inca ruins along the way, really cool. Everyone had recovered so we were at the front of the group the whole day, much to everyone’s surprise! "Team Canada” beat team Germany, USA, and France! They were like, what happened to you guys??? You’re all running up the hill today! hehe One of the Germans shouted “I'll catch you guys”... as he stopped and panted for a bit as we ran off down the trail. Frenchies were shouting GO CANADA GO! when they managed to get in earshot :) fun day!


The last day we got up at 3:30am to hike to the sun gate and see the sun rise over Machu Picchu. Unfortunately we woke up to rain (in the dry season) and when we got to the sun gate it was all cloudy and foggy so we didn't get to see it. It cleared up a couple hours later though at least.


Machu Picchu was awesome! Such amazing ruins! They’re huge and there’s so much detail, those Inca’s were smart! After a tour around the ruins we climbed to the top Huayna Picchu (the mountain that you always see behind Machu Picchu in postcards or on tv). It was a short hike, all up hill, steep steps at points, so nice at the top! Amazing view! And there were all sorts of colourful butterflies swarming around up there, nice!


Headed down to the town of Aguas Calientes after to shower, eat, and nap in our free posh hotel. The town was super cute. No cars at all, really small, railroad running through it. Enjoyed wandering around.


Took the train back to Cusco very early... now just doing laundry, errands, and preparing for our trip into the Jungle of Manu for 8 days!



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