Thursday, October 2, 2008

I survived the Inka Trail !!!!!!

Viernes, 26 Septiembre
We were picked up from the volunteer share house bright and early at about 6:30am and driven to Ollantaytambo for a breakky stop and last minute shopping. This is where I picked up my walking sticks which just ended up being my best friends for the next 4 days. From there, we were driven to the start of the trail... Km 82.
The start of journey had me fooled... it was nice and easy and the terrain was flat. We had plenty of breaks.. which I think drove some of the pro-hikers in our group nuts.... but I was grateful for. Our first stop after 2 hours of walking was at Llactapata. We rested for a while and learnt about some of the history of the ruins before continuing on for another 45 mins and lunch. Lunch was soup and chicken burgers.. yumm. We had about 7 porters with us... and I am in absolute awe of them. They would carry about 20 kgs each on their backs... get to camps before us... cook up a storm and then manage to pack up and get to the next camp site before we did. They were absoultely amazing! So anyway, after lunch and we headed on again ... walking for another 3 hours. This time, some of the terrain was undulated... but the last hour was all uphill to our first campsite for the night- Wayllabamba. This was extremely painful for me as it was uphill...but I eventually made it to camp about 30 mins behind the rest of the group.

Stats for the day
Altitude at start of day- 2750 mts
Altitude at end of day- 3100 mts
Kms trekked- 12
Estimated walking time for the day- 4 hrs, 30 mins
My walking time for the day- 5 hours (as a guesstimate.. minus all the breaks)
Terrain- Flat and uphill

Sabado, 27 Septiembre
We were woken up just before 6am with tea brought to our tents. After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast and banana we set off for the hardest day of the trek. We had no ruins to stop at today. Just a long long long day of steps, more steps, mountains and more mountains. Our goal was to climb 1200 mts to Warmiwanusca also known as Dead Womans Pass and then over the pass to Pacaymayu where we were to camp for the night. So while the others powered on along, I decided to stick to my own pace and lagged behind the rest of the group. One of the guides was always with me which was fantastic because as the morning wore on and Dead Womans pass didn't seem to be getting any closer, I needed the encouragement to go on. At about 12 noon, I was still plodding along looking at Dead Womans pass in the distance.. willing my little legs to keep going. Looking at the mountains around me, the sheer drop into the valley and the long trail ahead of me.. I knew that I had no choice but to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep walking. Finally.... at about 1:15 in the afternoon I made it to Dead Womans pass... tired, sore, sweaty and thankful that I made it that far. After taking in the views for a while and some photos as evidence that I made it to the highest point on the trail I started on for the journey down into the valley where we were to camp for the night. After about an hour of walking down massive stairs... it started to drizzle and I estimated I still had half an hour to get to camp. So, I put on my poncho and continued on downward. And then it started to pour... and I continued walking... and then it started to hail and I still kept walking... determined to get to camp. I definitely fell flat on my bottom a few times walking down the slippery steps.. but I managed to get to camp at 3pm.. with wet shoes, socks and pants and cold and shivery. 3 hours after the rest of the group.. but I made it!

Stats for the day
Altitude at start of day- 3100 mts
Altitude at end of day- 3500 mts
Altitude Climbed- 1100 mts
Kms trekked- 12
Estimated walking time for the day- 6 hrs
My walking time for the day- 8 hours
Terrain- Stupidly uphill

Click here for the rest of the photos from days 1 & 2 of the trail

Domingo, 28 Septiembre
Halfway there and that was the only thing that got me out of my sleeping bag that cold, cold morning. We had a good 17 kms to trek and a few ruins to see along the way. We had two passes to get over that day... but none as high as the previous day. Our first stop was at Runkurakay about a 40 minute walk from camp. I don't really remember much about the info on this site because I was still huffing and puffing away from the walk and was annoyed about my wet shoes and pants. Anyway, so after a brief stop for photos and air.. we continued on up and over the pass and to the next ruins which were Sayacmarca. Don't remember much about these ruins ... ok, yes, I'm quite hopeless! From there it was on to an early lunch and then 4 hours more of walking through the jungle. I have to say that the third day of the trek would have been the one I most enjoyed. The walk was nice and easy (well, easier than climbing 1200 mts) and the views along the trail were breathtaking. There was a few Inkan passages along the way and so much beautiful flora. As usual I was trailing behind the rest of the group and only got to the second pass of the day Phuyupatamarca at about 2pm. We were able to see down into the valley at the town of Aguas Calientes and I had my first view of Machu Picchu (the mountain). From here, it was a 2 hour downhill walk to our camp for the night. The steps were steep for the first 1 hour and one had to tread very carefully so as to not fall over... which of course was inevitable for me. At about 3:30pm, I looked to the skies and saw the dark clouds and heard the distant thunder. That certainly spurred me on, because I decided there was no way I was walking in rain with soggy pants and shoes again. I even overtook a few people on the path that day... (ok, so one or two of them may have been over the age of 60)... but, I made it to camp an hour later.. thankfully dry!

Stats for the day
Altitude at start of day- 3500 mts
Altitude at end of day- 2500 mts
Kms trekked- 17
Estimated walking time for the day- 9 hrs
My walking time for the day- 10 hours.. ish
Terrain- Up and down and all over the place...

Lunes, 29 Septiembre
The last day of the trek and only 6ks to Machu Picchu. Our earliest start yet... wake up call was at 3:45am. Breakfast was at 4am and we were standing in queue waiting for the checkpoint to open at 4:30am. After standing in line for an hour, we got through the checkpoint and everyone made a mad dash for our destination. The 2 hours of downhill walking from the previous day had me extremely sore and in a fair amount of pain. So, there I was.. trailing behind the group again. At about 7am, I finally made it to Intipunku- the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu. The rest of the group were waiting for me and when I got there and got my first view of Machu Picchu all the pain and sweat and grumpiness from the early morning start faded away. The view was aaaaamaaazzinngg and after a brief rest, we all stormed on down for the last 1 hour of the trek to the top of Machu Picchu. All the hard work from the previous 3 days was forgotten as I stood at the top and took in the views. I caught up with the rest of the group and we all did little dances of joy and congratulated each other on making it through the long journey... which was completely worth it!

Stats for the day
.. hmm.. don't really care... I survived the Inka Trail and made it to Machu Picchu... yay me!

Click here for the rest of the Machu Picchu photos...


Joanita said...

Challenging ... you made it, I was frightfully worried about you ... although I knew you would make it ... Congrats

Venie said...

hey sweets .... amazing stuff .... mabrook ya habibti..... im real proud of u ....... muah ... pls tc ...

Anonymous said...

Challenging.............You are the first one in the Fernandes family to reach Machu Pichu

Congrats for showing the Machu Pichu road map??? Take care senhora and all the best


Natasha said...

Good for people to know.