South America

Hiking the Inca Trail – DAY 1

Starting point of the Inca Trail
July 31, 2019.
3 families in a group of 15 people start our journey on the Inca Trail.

Our first day on the trail was filled with deep breathing! The trail went from easy to hard to easy to hard, varying mostly on how well we were breathing! We had planned for a nice stroll with lots to see and look at. We did think that if this is what the trail was like, we would be ok! This day was not easy for us. We needed more time perhaps to adjust to the elevation. We were not really prepared for how much work this little “easy day” would be for us! There were definitely times of self dought. The steeper incline at the end was hard! I was surprised by how much I underestimated my own abilities.

I snapped this picture during our briefing on the trek. Day 1, a total of 11 km. Please note the elevation as the elevation was often the hardest part of the day!

Our views included the river, snow-capped mountains and lots of greenery. Our trip was during the dry season. There were some flowers out and it appeared that many of the cactuses were soon to bloom. There were several communities along the trail. We were able to purchase water/beverages or snacks from them, as well as pay to use their toilets!

We were able to see our first Inca ruins on this day! Our progress was slow as our breathing was hard. We were a little nervous as this was to be the easiest day and we were struggling with the last major incline. We took our time and slowly made our way to the top.

It was a bit windy!

As we walked the weather warmed up. Lunch was served at a rest point, we had trout! Meghan (my daughter) wasn’t feeling too great, and we fixed her up with some electrolytes! Thank you to our new friends from New Zeland for packing the huge first aid essentials!

Day 1 lunch!

We were so happy to reach the camp! Happy doesn’t do the feeling justice! I was relieved and felt totally accomplished. There were warm bowls of water at each tent for us to use to wash up. The stars were so bright and the milky way was easily seen. That evening felt pretty cold to me, and I bundled up in my winter jacket, toque and an extra sweater. The dining tent, however, was warm. There was a propane heater in the dining tent. We gathered as a group and snacked on popcorn and hot chocolate before dinner. Our group was filled with amazing people, and we bonded together by singing favourite songs and sharing some insights of what we as individuals love. I was worried that I would be cold sleeping in the tent, but the sleeping back and mat worked really well and we were plenty warm! I had some super warm socks on and actually felt that I wanted to take them off at one point!

After dinner, our guide told us a story about a lady he didn’t think could make the trek. He later found out that it was essential that she make this trip as she was chronically ill and this was a bucket list item. He later spoke with Sam, myself and a couple of others who struggled on day 1, and together we came up with a plan for success so that we too would be able to successfully complete our journey! He was a great guide who ensured that we were able and comfortable during the trip. Edwadr was his name. As much as I was worried about how hard the next day would be, I was excited to be doing this trek, and couldn’t wait to see what laid before us on the dreaded day two!