Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
12Trip End Mar 31, 2008
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Before I set out I made up my mind to pack light, to make sure I wasnt bringing anything I didnt need. I had a bag about half full and the damn thing still weighed about 9kg. Not to mention the sleeping bag I ended up getting to carry around, this thing was huge and barely fit inside by bag, it took up nearly half the space. I then had a sleeping mat attatched to the outside for another bonus kilo. All told m bagged probably weighed about 13kg, a whopping 30lbs. It kind of sucked having a heavy-ish bag.
First day was pretty easy we had an obligatory stop at the Inka Trail sign and got a group picture, then we were off. The trail started flat and easy, well traveled and it didnt really look like I expected, just a dirt path. We followed it for some time and finally hit our first uphill. At the time I thought it was hard and by the time I got to the top of it I was a little winded. THe whole group was in fact, so we had a break. After the break is when it started to become more like I expected, we hit our first rock walkway complete with rock stairs. We hit another tough uphill and when we reached the top we arrived at the first Inka ruins, Llaqtapata. With a lengthy explanation we stood around admiring from a distance. We moved on an got to he first campsite at about 4pm. I played some soccer with the guide and chasquis (porters) and it might not have been the best thing, I was pretty tired in the legs after.
Second day was a little extreme, we ascended 1200m in about 3 hours. The whole day was a climb. We kept going up and up and up. The hill looked like it would never end. Very, very tiring is all I have to say. Once at the top of Dead Womans Pass we had one downhill bit left to go. A descent of about 600m to the campsite. It was pretty easy going even though a lot of the group complained about sore knees. Your truly managed with no problems.
Third day was the longest. Started with a steep ascent to the second pass of the hike. We had a stop at a tombo (small ruins) on the way up. At the top we take a look around Sayaqmarka and get a chance to explore these fairly big ruins. We keep going, heading through tunnels and walking some pretty precarious paths along the ridge of a mountain. Drops of about 50ft or more were on the left side the whole way.
The third day contained a highlight for me. After lunch and a visit to some more ruins we were told to take things at our own pace and make it to the last campsite. I took off at a fast pace, very fast. I passed other groups on the trail, I passed the fast porters and made it down in 30mins what takes groups about an 1h20m to walk. I made my way along an alternate route to another set of ruins. This may have been the highlight of the walk for me. I spent a whole 40mins by myself wandering around the ruins, taking pictures and exploring, before any other people showed up. I left pretty quick when others did and I made my way to the campsite.
The next morning was very different from the rest of the days. We woke up really early because we wanted to be able to make it to the control point beofore most of the other groups. Unfortunatley all the other groups had the same idea, and us having a slow group made it down halfway through the pack. This was the first time I saw everyone on the trail at once. There were so many tourists!! It was ridiculous. I didnt like it at all, everyone was milling around waiting for the control to open. When it did and we got through it was a bit of a joke. It was almost like a race to Machu Picchu. People would block you from passing them even if they were walking slow, some people were getting hit with walking sticks while making their way to the sun gate. Duron was in front of me while walking so he got the brunt of the rude comments as we passed.
All this was very ironic in the end because about 20min in to the 30 min walk it started to rain, and not just lightly, it started to pour. So most everyone in front of us pulled off to the side and put on ponchos etc. We arrived at the sun gate to see a coulded over Machu Picchu. We kept walking to MP and arrived while it was still raining, so instead of doing the tour we left the park and sat under some umbrellas for about 30 mins until the rain stopped. The tour was pretty good, there were a lot of pictures taken and quite a bit of information thrown at us.
All in all I had a great time except for that bit of rain at the end!