Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
May 13, 2010
Preparing for the Inca Trail...I got into bed realizing I forgot to pack bug repelant and sun block. I told myself I'll do it in the morning when i wake up at 6:00am. The morning comes and once again I'm wakened by not my alarm, but the receptionist whispering Inca Trail. I look at my watch and see it's 5:00am so I tell him I'm getting picked up at 6:30am which is what the gentleman told me at our breifing. I even repeated the time back to him. It didn't matter, im up and my ride is waiting for me. I got out of bed and walked to the front to find my guide there waiting. I told him I was supposed to get picked up at 6:30am and apologized while asking if I can just brush my teeth. I grabed my packed bag and brushed my teeth, 30 minutes later I'm ready and in the bus full of porters and other travelers waiting for me. At that moment I realized I forgot to pack the sunblock and bug repelant again. The bus ride to km 82 was longer than anticipated. We stopped at a town before arriving to get any last minute stuff and to eat breakfast if we wanted. I didn't, I just roamed around the town away from all the tourist traps. That's what the town was, a tourist trap full of haglers trying to get money out of you. Anxious I am, we finally arrive at km 81, not km 82. We had to hike an extra km, but what's a km when I'm about to hike for 4 days. There's mosquitoes everywhere and the sun is beating down. A lady was selling both bug repelant and sunblock so I thought to buy bug repelant. All I had was a 100 sole bill. She had no change. It wasn't meant for me to have either. I asked the guide if I could just borrow some of his. He let me use both so I was set for now. There are 14 people in our pack; 7 porters, 2 guides, and 5 tourist including myself. 4 girls and just me. My pack was weighed and came out at 11 kilos. We make it to km 82 which is the start of the Inca Trail. We had to show our passports and tickets. It was like the airport. They even stamped the passport. Group photo and were off. Day one of the Inca trail was fairly easy. Rolling hills, snow caped mountains, and a dusty dry trail. We walk past the ruins of Q'anabamba and Q'entimarka before taking a break at the ruins of Willkarakay. We continue on the trail along side the river till Patawasi where camp was set up and the end of day one. I go to use the restroom to find a hole in the ground. I thought to myself this is going to be interesting when I have to unload. The sound of water flowing down the river, wind on my tent, and crickets rock me to sleep. Day two was the most strenuous. The trail consisted of climbing to the peak of Abra Warmiwanuska (4201 m), an elevation gain of about 1000 m. It was a lot of work, but I was trying to keep up with the porters. They were practicly running past everyone. Although I was ahead of the group, I couldn't keep up with the porters. I waited at each checkpoint for the rest of the group which was great for me because it gave me more time to rest. Although I would get cold from waiting, I regulated how many layers I had on so that I wouldn't get sick. The camp of day two was amazing, it overlooked the valley. I felt like a hawk in the sky. Day three I wake to a dramatic landscape of sun rays beating on the mountains and a fresh breeze. We pass by the ruins of Runkuraqay, some lakes which one of them I called heart lake due to it's resemblance of a heart shape, and Qonchamarca. Making it to Sayaqmarka which we got to explore. I have been squeezing my cheeks the whole trip trying to wait to use the restroom at Machu Picchu, but couldn't any longer. I grab toilet paper out of my bag and head for the pit. I get to the restroom and become shy; i couldn't go to the restroom any more so i returned back to the group. We eat and my stomach is about to burst this point. I pray to god that I'm able to just go. I attempt to go again, squating, legs shakeing, aiming for the hole, success. Relieved but extremely grossed out, i now feel sick to the stomach. What a proccess it required to squat without getting your pants and to find a comfortable position to hold yourself up without touching anything. I told myself i needed to get used to this because this is how its going to be in India. The trail transformed into a more lushish jungle, walking along side the cliff of the mountain and paved stones. We enter the ruins of Phuyupatamarka before coming to one of my favorite ruins, Yunkapata. It wasn't the most spectacular but my experience there was priceless. We were all alone and the steps between the platforms were great. I decided to climb these extrusions of rocks all the way to the top. I really felt the presense of living there during the time of the Incas. The thought of waking up each day to that view blew my mind away. The food each day was great, probably my favorite in Peru yet. The final day of the Inca trail we rose early, 4:00 am to wait in a line at a check point that opened at 5:30am. This is where they regulate how many people are in Machu Picchu. My guide made me a t-shirt out of a tee bag; Peruvian oragami. The hike down from the campsite to the checkpoint required a lot of consentration on my part. My headlamp died so I had to follow closely behind someone so I can see their path in the dark. At the checkpoint, I felt as though I was at Disneyland waiting for a ride. All the hard work we worked towards was a couple hours away. We hiked the remaining way up to the sun gate which we watched the sun rise illuminating Machu Picchu. Finally, in Machu Picchu and it's full of tourist, which for me kinda spoiled the beauty of it. But, Machu Picchu itself words can't explain. It's full of energy and is definately a spiritual place. What was super funny was this Asian kid touching the rocks and acting as though he was being possessed. Priceless his face was. We walked all around, hearing the explanation of each room and place but my mind just woundered. I didn't know what to think but didn't care. Although Machu Picchu was amazing, I felt the journey to be more rewarding than the ruins itself. The remaining time we all just sat on a terrace. We eventually get kicked off because the man pretty much was trying to say that people trying to take pictures are not going to like us in them. We move, and I just laugh at what just happened. We leave by bus to Aguas Calientes for one last lunch with the guides. It started to rain so we just watched TV at the restaurant till our train back to Cusco was about to leave. I was lucky to have no one sit next to me in the train, allowing me to lay down and sleep. The train took forever in getting to km 82, stopping for about a half hour for two trains on the same track to pass. The tracks were still damaged from the floods of February so we had a bus take us the rest of the way to Cusco. My legs fell asleep because of the bus being crammed with people and this over weight guy sitting right next to me not allowing me to move the whole way. I arrive back at the hostel at around midnight super exhausted.