Published: June 9th 2012June 7th 2012
Day 2 group photo
this included the cooks, porters and one tour guide (we had 3 - Migel, Lutvik & Huan)
4th June - Day 2
Last night's excitment of having my own tent was short lived since I did not consider that the lack of another person's body heat would mean I would be freezing during the night, despite the 4 season sleeping bag, thermals, north face jacket, gloves and socks yes I was wearing all of that...
So the 6am wake up call was almost a welcome distraction!
In an unfortunate turn of events, my luck improved in the sleeping arrangements for day 2. One of the younger group members took ill over night and had to return back to the village we started off at (good news she joined the group again at lunch time on day 3), which meant I had a sleeping buddy for the night! This was ideal since we were camping at a higher altitude the second night and there was a full moon and clear sky.
Today was the long day where we had to walk 14km but due to the terraine you were walking zing zag hence more steps. The morning part was definitely the toughest, after 1.5hrs I gave in and gave my day pack to one of
the horses, that way I continued walking with just my walking stick and juice! The next 2.5hrs were manageable on this basis. I was determined not to use the horse no matter what....thankfully that was not required. Another couple of the team made use of them instead! We made it past the first pass at 4,400m just before lunchtime and it felt great!
After lunch I decided to start up ahead of the group (with my day back this time) so they did not have to wait on the oldie at the back...I am pleased to say I stayed in the front group all the way until we reached the second pass at 4,500m. The views were amazing...the whole group decided to push on and head for the true top and place a stone at one of the many piles to commemorate our achievement!
We then headed downwards towards the sun gate. This part was my favourite, you had to go slow since due to the lack of rain the surface was dusty and there were lots of loose rocks (mum you could not handle this with your asthma and Derek you would have loved it!). I am
Day 2 - My favourite mountain view
I took lots of pictures of this mountain from different points throughout the trek, not all look this great!
pleased to say I did not fall once unlike a fellow trekker who broke the record of 10 falls by 2!!! We had a great laugh on the way down :-)
Next and final stop for the day was the sun gate....it was fairly straight forward walking wise and a chance to do some solo walking, which was a lovely experience in this setting.
Then finally headed down to the campsite with a couple of the trekkers. The meal was great and as a wee surprise we got some mulled wine after dinner....I was in my element! Needless to say the Scot in the group got second helpings...but then again so did a few others!!!
The second day came to a finishing highlight with a full moon and stars you could almost reach up and touch....Derek you were correct it was a pretty special sight! (unfortunately my camera is not sophisticated enough to take any good night shots....I am sure I will get copies from my fellow trekkers once they get back home and set up the group page).
GCC steps - 29,507
5th June - Day 3
Day 2 - Placing a rock at the highest point 4500m
What an achievement, I even went up to the true top and placed a rock to say thanks!
say I slept great...yes it was still cold but the extra body in the tent helped and there was no need for cuddling or spooning during the night, much to both of our relief!!!
Another 6am wake up call but greeted with a beautiful sunrise....total pay off!
Final morning with our cooks and porter, we took the opportunity to thank them and take some photos before heading off, on our final days trek....pleased to say this was mainly down hill.
The landscape became more lush green and birds & dogs (and even pigs at the end) were around in number. We visited the Quarry and a cave where sacrificial mummy's were found by one of our porters a few year's back. Unfortunately a looter knicked the intact one and left the remains and partial remains of the others. I have to admit I am glad we did not have to go in to the cave, just stand at the entrance....that was close enough for me (what a whimp!).
We eventually headed back to our originating village of Ollyatambo, where we got the train to Callentiates (just below Machu Picchu). The trekking group and me included were
Day 2 - at the sun gate
end of day 2, reaching the sun gate having walked just under 29,000 steps by that point, with my favourite mountain in the background - FELT LIKE TOP OF THE WORLD!
pleased with the trekking experience, however a bit disappointed that we did not walk to Machu Picchu...I am convinced that the inca trail trek would not have been as enjoyable since other than our group of 15 / 14 plus staff there was no one else on our path other than local people (mainly children looking after sheep) and the surface was actual grass and gravel and not steps (other than a small portion on day 1). So from a walking perspective the Quarry trek was a real success. Plus none of us wanted a third night camping. So staying in a basic hotel with hot showers was a welcome pacifier.
To boot the village had hot springs that the majority of us ventured into...I have to admit these did not look that hygienic (the water was brown...rather than clear) but it was a great way to spend a couple of hours chilling out with the group. I abstained from having a drink in the pool....since I managed to fall on my way up the stairs to the springs and my right knee was swollen, I thought it would be safer all round if I waited until dinner before
Day 3 - group photo
after this we said goodbye to our cooks and porters
I had any alcohol, just in case I caused myself any more injuries!
Dinner was a bit of a dissappointment, after the great meals with our cooks on the trek. The service was slow and the food was cold only consolation being it was part of the package. Following dinner we headed back to our hotel, since tomorrow was going to be an even earlier rise.
GCC steps - 25,411
6th June - Day 4
A 5.15am start to the day was not an issue (obviously the hot springs did help with the achy muscles) and after breakfast we got the 25min bus up to Machu Picchu :-)
Finally after 22 years the realisation of this goal is AMAZING....none of the photos do this place justice. There are so many levels, buildings and stairs not to mention lamas wandering the grounds and tons of birds singing away! TRULY BREATH TAKING....and it was not due to the walking! The weather was not as bright and sunny like the previous days however it is still warm and the sun did make a few appearances through out the day.
After a 2.5hr guided
Day 3 - favourite mountain
I did say I have lots of photos of this mountain!
tour by our main tour guide (Migel), we were let loose in the place. Pleased to say none of us got kicked out, due to inappropriate behaviour (even though the guys did try to challenge the guards on more than one occassion!).
There were 2 places worth visiting outwith the site, these were the bridge and the sun gate. I opted to visit the sun gate only (another steep ascent...gluten for punishment after the previous 3 days hiking) so I could spend some time alone afterwards....the majority of the trek group visited the bridge first and then a few of them made it up to the sun gate where they joined me for a short while.
I eventually came down to Machu Picchu and found a nice spot over looking the site where I stayed for the next 2 hours alone (the rest of them headed into the village for lunch and shopping) just taking in the views and chilling out....it was an experience just like I thought it would be but with slightly more people roaming about.
To my surprise (I should have known there were more people like Derek out there...) there were a group
Day 3 - looking back at sun gate
the sun gate is located half way along the long ridge, that is where we ended up yesterday before heading to the campsite
of people that run up to Machu Picchu from the village below, it took the second quickest person >6hrs to reach the sun gate....Derek that once again totally made me think of you and your fellow running buddies (extreme hill runners are going to take over the world...one day)!
I eventually got the bus back down to met my group before heading back via train to Ollyatambo and then by bus back to Cusco. Only downside was having to say goodbye to my trek group since they were all staying at another hostel. I am sure we will keep in touch via facebook etc!
GCC steps - 28,176
Overall thoughts of the trek experience:
This was my first ever organised multiple day event. I loved my group, the walking, the scenery and the crew. The downside was that I missed out on the first day and 1/2 with my group and that I was staying in another hostel from them back in Cuscio. The good news is that Intrepid have accepted liability for the mix up on the Peruvian side and that Trailfinders are keen to get things resolved once I am back in
Day 3 - Quarry mummy´s
sacrificial mummy´s left in the Quarry location they were originally located in!
the UK. Based on this I would give them another chance most likely next year while visiting Asia?
Machu Picchu can now be crossed off the list of things to do before I die!
There are more photos below