Inca Trail Day 1: How Hard Can it Really Be?


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South America » Peru » Cusco » Inca Trail
September 28th 2012
Published: November 13th 2012
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September 28, 2012

Starting Elevation 2650m (8694ft)

1st Camp Elevation - Wayllabamba - 3000m (9842ft)

Starting Elevation 3000m (9842ft)

Distance Travelled 11kms




And here it was, Inca Trail time! The gang woke up to a beautiful morning and everyone was fired up and ready to get started...eight of the ten of us were on the trail; Alison would hang in Cusco and meet up with us again on the last day of the trek, and Dominik was off to do the Lares trek...

It was almost hard to believe I was about to start this journey; as mentioned in previous posts this had been a dream of mine for quite some time...I even had to move my trip four times before I was able to get one of the precious Inca Trail permits (the government restricts the trail to 500 people per day, including porters, and the passes sell out months in advance...). So now it was time to put one foot in front of the other and walk in the footsteps of the Incas...

Grabbed a bus to the base of the trail, and it was here that we picked
Gettin' Ready...Gettin' Ready...Gettin' Ready...

....various trekking companies and hawkers tending to last minute things...
up our trekking poles, sorted out some last minute gear and more importantly got our first glimpse of our porters! Hearty looking bunch, who with significantly more gear on their backs would of course proceed to put the rest of us to shame in the fitness department for the next four days, but bring it on!

Once the gear was sorted we had the obligatory group photo in front of the big trail sign before making our way to the first checkpoint, where our permits were checked, passports stamped (cool!) and then the gate was opened...Inca Trail!

The trail began with a nice lazy walk as we followed the Rio Urubamba, passing the odd local and catching glimpses of our first Incan ruins of the day, fantastic...spent a few hours like this, before the trail started to wander more and more uphill, and then some pretty healthy ascents...was doing okay; not the quickest in the group (okay, the slowest) but pacing myself and handling things just fine...did some training before arriving in Peru, but it didn't take long to figure out I should have done more...haha....

Had the first of many history/cultural lessons from our guide extraordinaire
Ready to Rock...Ready to Rock...Ready to Rock...

...the last photo of me not hanging over my trekking pole...haha...
David; I can't believe the wealth of knowledge this man had! He certainly knew the trail and region like the back of his hand; flora, fauna, legends, facts, he had them all...and a few self-described "hypotheses" to fill in the gaps...awesome!

Hiked for a good four to five hours (I think, should have done this blog sooner, starting to forget some of the details...gah...) before finally dragging myself up this long sweeping uphill portion of the trail to where we were greeted by some porters and our first lunch, man was I happy to take a decent break! Porters had obviously gotten there well before us so the dining tent was set up and ready, and the cooking was well under way, smelled fantastic...think we had fish the first day; food was awesome the entire trail, although unfortunately didn't eat much of it...more on that to come...

We had pushed well into the trail before lunch, so the next leg to our first camp was only another hour or so which wasn't too bad...great feeling to come around the corner and recognize our guys hard at work at setting up our camp, which again was pretty much done when we arrived...I cannot stress enough how hard these guys worked, it was a slick operation and fantastic bunch of guys who always had a "Hola" or "Buenos Diaz" for you every time our paths would cross...

After quickly sorting out who was sleeping where (David from New Zealand would be my roommate for the trek) we were left to our own designs to wash our faces and relax for a bit...took a few pics and settled in for a little siesta before dinner, view from the tent was brilliant...

Called to dinner where we would go through the ritual of soup, main course and then briefing on the next day's adventures (you couldn't get any info on future days from our guide before this briefing, he would always say "we will discuss this at dinner"....guess he didn't want to have to explain it multiple times, but I liked it because it kept you more focused and in the moment, not thinking too far ahead...). Food smelled wonderful but it was at this time that my stomach started feeling a little funky...

Yep, what could possibly throw a wet rag over this awesome start to the trail? Bad stomach with some classic traveler's ailment thrown in for good measure...gah! Couldn't believe it...got some fresh air and then turned in right after dinner, hoping to medicate and sleep off whatever had decided to join me on the trail...


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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Checkpoint 1Checkpoint 1
Checkpoint 1

Checking our permits, stamping our permits and a quick briefing from David...
Rio Urubamba IIRio Urubamba II
Rio Urubamba II

....with the train that runs between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu...
On our way...On our way...
On our way...

...yes, me at the back...
Valley IIValley II
Valley II

...our first taste of the vistas we were to come across...awesome...
Incan RuinIncan Ruin
Incan Ruin

...I could not get enough of the terraces, fantastic...
Lee...Lee...
Lee...

...photobombing me...gah! Haha...
Bandit!Bandit!
Bandit!

Oh man, this dangerous one came out of the bushes and tried to steal Lee's poles...we managed to escape...with the poles as well...lol
View from our tent...View from our tent...
View from our tent...

...not too shabby...never got tired of this...
CampCamp
Camp

...with David catching up with his journal...
Camp IICamp II
Camp II

...with Lee and Kristal unwinding...


Tot: 0.091s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 29; qc: 135; dbt: 0.0313s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.7mb