South America

Hiking the Inca Trail – DAY 2

On day 2 we woke at 4 am, had breakfast at 4:30 am and were off to begin our day! Part of our plan to complete the difficult day ahead of us was to get out earlier than originally planned, earlier than half our group as well!  We also were able to pay a porter to carry most of our day pack items, our guide arranged this for us the night before as it is not included in our tour and from what I understand they hired a porter to come in for the day for this job. We ended up deloading 21kg of items to him and paid $150 US for this service.  In the long run, it did make a huge difference as we only needed to carry our water, sunscreen, toilet paper and pocket camera.

We hiked in the dark for about an hour.  It was beautiful seeing the sunrise over the peaks of the mountains.

The trail began with an incline that remained steady and became steeper with every step. Our small threesome remained positive and encouraging as we knew we needed to stay mentally in the game!  Sam and I had done a lot of reading about how hard day 2 was and we thought we were well mentally prepared! We had also forgotten to add electrolytes to our water bladders that morning so we felt low on energy. However, with our eyes pointed forward and with many many breaks to catch our breath and take in the views around us we made it one step at a time!

About 20 meters before reaching the top, a couple of us shared some words of encouragement, and we mentally prepared ourselves for the last hard push.  I climbed about 5 meters, politely told my friend to move over, and vomited over the edge of the path. My friend grabbed my backpack as she said “don’t fall over!”  Our guide came hustling down from the summit and had me inhale the “Florida Water”.

We completed the task of climbing up to Dead Woman’s Pass, a summit of 4215 meters.

I cried tears of joy.  I just sat and cried for a minute out of pure happiness, overwhelmed with the feeling of accomplishment and completion. I felt that this was the hardest day physically and I had won!

The view was incredible. I’m so grateful for the sights I have to hold in my heart. 

The trek on the way down was more difficult than we thought it would be.  The decline was steep. The stairs, if we can call them all stairs, which were of different heights, rarely level, and at times wobbly stones.  We were grateful for our walking sticks and took our time watching with care every step. Finally, we made it to camp, where we were welcomed by our porters clapping and cheering us in!

Happy hour! 

That evening as a celebration our group shared snacks that we all had packed for the journey. Of course, I had the chips and Fireball!  The two fellows from Ireland had purchased a bottle of rum along the early part of the trail from a vendor in one of the communities we went through!  We all sang and sipped and truly bonded that evening.

Sometimes happy hour only is documented with blurry pictures!