Inca Trail Day 1 - Today is supposed to be 'easy'
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
In a tent somewhere on the Inca Trail
We woke up at 4.30am washed ourselves for maybe the last time in a couple of days (of course the baby wipes are packed in the porters bag) and checked for the last time that we had got everything that we needed (our New Years Eve wine stash unsurprisingly came at the top of this list along with two bars of very important Ritter Sport chocolate for emergencies) and made our way downstairs and in to the almost night. After a few minutes a couple of buses slowly started to crawl up the deserted street and then disappeared leaving us a little worried. Andrew decided to chase one and thankfully it was the right one that then came back and collected us. We met the girls at the square near to the SAS office – our guide was nowhere to be seen. After 15 minutes of waiting and watching all the worse for wear tourists making their way home Bill appeared and became the butt of the ‘out partying eh?’ joke. He seemed to be amused and we were at last on our way. We had been travelling for about an hour when the first mishap of the trip happened – we got a flat tyre. This wouldn’t have been much of a problem only the 5 strong group of men that we had with us couldn’t get the wheel off. After a long while, with local children looking on, and with the help of rocks and goodness knows what else the tyre was changed and again we were back on the road
We got to the village at the trail head at 9.30am and it was pouring with rain – great start. Out came the hats, waterproofs, gloves etc, we used a flushable loo with toilet paper supplied for the final time and then crossed the Urubamba River to the trail start at 10am. We were amazed by the amount of porters that we had with our group – at least 8 – with massive amounts of stuff strapped to their backs (they carry up to 25kg each) covered in sheets of plastic and wearing SANDALS! They really put us to shame and we immediately felt guilty that we only had our little day sacks. The Australian girls had decided to carry their own stuff so they had reasonably sized ruck-sacks – as we got to the first uphill section not long after the start I did not envy them at all, despite the cool fine rain I was roasting. Oh god this was just the beginning. The porters were all basically running passed us – amazing some looked almost twice our age – oh the shame. On the first section of the trail there were loads of horses and donkeys with heavy loads passing us being lead by locals and thank goodness it wasn’t long before the path flattened out and became a lot more pleasant. After a couple of hours in the now decent weather we came to an amazing set of ruins complete with intricate terracing that we got a great aerial view of – the guide explained that the majority of the structures had been resting houses (three walled), it was also a good excuse for a little rest
The next part of the trek was tough – uphill all the way – who said the first day was supposed to be easy? In his wisdom Bill decided that we would go further today than most of the other groups and camp higher up the mountain. We climbed all the way up to ‘The Forks’ which was hard and very slow going in the heat. On the way we were passed by a couple on horseback coming in the opposite direction – now why couldn’t we have done it that way? All the other groups stopped and camped at a mirador (lookout) but we continued on uphill through a forest microclimate (how envious we felt when we saw people happily lazing on the grass reading books), getting our passports stamped on the way and arriving at camp at about 5pm – I think we had walked about 16kms and climbed about 800m. Dinner was again delicious –we were given popcorn and tea followed by soup and chicken, salad, pasta, etc