Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Longest Day

Woke up this morning to rain.....slept sort of last night, so not feeling great. Especially after putting on wet clothes again. My boots were totally soaked so I decided to go with my chacos. Today is our long day. 12 miles.

First part of the trail was strait up. This is an original part of the Inca trail, which is why the stairs are so irregular.
These are a couple of the porters. Huge packs and always these little rubber sandals.

On the other side of the mountain we came to a whole new climate. Very green, lush jungle.
Here we are at Sayacmarca - which is an ancient Incan fort on the top of a mountain.

Unfortunately we were unable to see anything at all due to the thick fog, but I am sure the view would have been stunning.

Here I am inside the fort.

From there we could see a smaller settlement down in the valley as well.

And from there it was pretty much down hill several miles to camp. The stairs are really starting to wear on my knees. The scenery is really gorgeous though.

When we stopped for lunch, Rosey made sure to get a picture of the "kitchen". The food was actually pretty good considering the circumstances.

After lunch.....more stairs!

We were loving that jungle terrain. The rain continued to drizzle but wasn't terrible.

The last several hours were all down hill, and the last hour about was all steep switchbacks. I had fallen behind the other girls and was shuffling along in the slow lane (mountain side) while porters zoomed past on the right and it felt like the switchbacks would never end. I had a bit of a deja vu moment when I saw this scene just above camp. It felt just like the time I saw the finish line on my first marathon. I was so relieved that I cried, then and today. Today was just as hard as a marathon I feel like.
The camera didn't really catch this, but there is a tiny patch of blue sky in the background!!!

Tonight is party night!!!! Our campsite is also located right by a university research center and they have a restaurant, so we all got to eat inside (there were a bunch of other Inca trail companies there too) and buy drinks and get dry. There was a very festive feeling. This would be a good moment to jot down who everyone is. By this point hardship has really brought us all together and I feel like we are one big Inca trail family.
Starting on the right, Bryan our guide - classic South American male, a little cocky and self centered and into blond girls (Charli....)
Mancy and Hari are next to him, those two and the two girls on the front left are all family, siblings and cousins. The girls on the left are Pauril and Neha. They were all really fun. Hari particularly was really funny and good humored. These 4 were the least prepared for the journey and were always the last ones into camp. Hari always hung back with them and encouraged them along and made sure they were ok. So great.
After Rosey, me and Charli is Marissa. She is from Australia. She is hiking by herself to raise funds for a charity her sister set up in Bolivia. She was the fastest of all the ladies.
Then Willi, the "vice" guide that always brought up the rear. He was fantastic. Very soft spoken and kind.
Then Peter from Poland (no English) and his friend Fabian from France. Fabian was super friendly but we didn't get to know Peter much since he spoke no English and seemed introverted.
After them is Mark and Lauren who are both from San Diego as well. Very cool couple. Mark celebrated his birthday tonight.
Next are the sisters Dimple and Rossi. Dimple is a physical therapist from Chicago and Rossi works in finance in Manhattan. This is only the second week long vacation she has taken from her 90 work week job in the last 5 years....crazy!
Last of all are the Irish couple. Emily Ann and Damien who are both students that study in Scotland. We were really blessed to be with such a great group of people, everyone was fantastic.
Our guides Bryan and Willi.

Our last bowl soup - won't miss that at all.

Here we are with all our porters. Turns out it takes a lot of people to get us to Machu Picchu.


Jaime said...

Denise!!! This hike looks amazing! And completely terrifying! :) You are so awesome for doing it - you're pretty much the coolest person I know! Drink that coca tea and hike on, girlfriend! I'm rooting you on from the lazy comfort of my couch :) GO NECIE!

Brit said...

What an adventure! Maybe its time for us to update your blog's banner? =)