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Published: August 4th 2017
I slept ok. Woke up every few hours. I slept with my ear plugs as one of the guys snored a little. Usually struggle with earplugs but it was fine today.
Cesar came knocking 5 am to wake us up and brought us coca tea. I think he may have knocked a few times to wake us thanks to my ear plugs. Apparently all the others were woken 330 am by a confused rooster who thought it was the appropriate time to crow. I did manage to sleep through that.
We had half an hour to get ready and go to breakfast. Breakfast was oats, bread and pancakes. After breakfast we had some time so finished packing up and Sylvia lead us in a stretching class. I took my big jacket today so pack was pretty heavy but they said it would be pretty cold certain places. It was too hot to hike in so I had it in backpack.
We started continuing uphill where we left off yesterday. It was not easy but not too bad like rise then flat rise then flat.
We were not going to get lunch until we arrived at camp as they said Dead Womans Pass would be too hard on a full stomach. Luckily I am food motivated. That probably made dead womans pass a lot easier for me. 'You have to do this so you can eat'. You could see the pass from the first part of the hike. It's like a woman laying down so face and a boob/nipple shaped mountain.
We did it in 3 sections. The first we walked together. The second was through forest and had thousands of stairs. We were told to take 2 hours and hike at our own paces. Actually doing it at the own pace it wasn't so bad. It was even enjoyable and out of the sun so quite cold. I kept my fleece on and ended up also with gloves and beanie back on. The Forrest part was really pretty and lots to look at that distract you from how hard you are climbing. Several waterfalls and flowing water by the trail and lots of pretty plants. We were told this is the hardest part of the day but I actually really enjoyed it. Tried to take photos of all the steps but it just does not do any justice you cannot see how many or how steep from the photos.
The rest stop past that point was the last one you can buy any snacks water etc. We all put in 5 soles to buy rum as Joel wanted to make us a hot rum juice /tea thing to warm us before bed.
There were llamas here too and some spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers. When we stopped it was always really cold quickly. So Joel, Sylvia and Matt did some push ups to keep warm while waiting for the others.
The next section was the final slog to dead woman's pass and told about 2 hours. Again we just did it at our own pace. I'm finding my pace is pretty much right in the middle. I can't keep up with the first few people and walk faster than the slower ones so most of today I was in the middle myself. Times I had whole Inca trail to myself and so it was nice. Being in the middle I could stop for rests and photos and not have to catch up to people. I could catch the slower ones and continue on with them.
The trek up to dead woman's pass was worse then section 2. It was out again in the sun and I ended up stripping off all layers down to a singlet. The slog up was pretty hard but I made it half hour before the average time and was 4th in our group to make it to the top. I had stopped plenty of times along the way to take in the scenery. Some people just rush up to make it up but don't really take anything in. I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do during the trek as I'm busy trying not to die but still taken a few because otherwise why go through all the pain. If I wasn't going to stop and take in the scenery I should have got the train to Machu Picchu.
Honestly it was a really hard walk but I think I expected much worse from the reviews. I think I have been blessed with no symptoms of altitude sickness and I just worked out a slow pace that I could keep up without becoming too uncomfortable. I also didn't look up much to where I was going I just looked at my feet step by step so I couldn't see how much I had to do and that seemed to work well for me.
At dead woman's pass we had to wait about half an hour for the rest of group to catch up. We then got a group photo of the background. Looking back where we came from the sky was so clear and perfect views of the mountains and glaciers. Looking to where we were going thick cloud was setting in.
Next was a 1 1/2 hour walk downhill. It started off fun but ended up a killer on the knees. Again we just took lead with the guides following. Our poles were extended from elbow height to boob height for the walk down. It was a bit more of a thinking process with how and where you put your sticks to make sure you didn't slip. Finally we made it to camp. The first lot of us got there about half hour before the second lot. The porters were still setting up some of the tents but had already set up mine and Jodi's tent and put our bags inside. It was really cold once you stopped moving. It's the highest camp on the trail and also the coldest. About 15 minutes after the others arrived lunch was served. We got soup with pasta, and meat with stuffed potato and vegetables and apple pie for desert. We finished lunch about 2.50 and were told happy hour 5.30 dinner 6.30 with suggestions to have a siesta.
A group of us borrowed Sylvia to stretch again as we feel it's really helping all of us. Following that laid down for an hour and a half to rest. Probably slept 15 minutes of that time.
Happy hour we had hot chocolate biscuits and popcorn. So much popcorn. When dinner came I was worried i would struggle. Dinner was soup, chicken and spaghetti. Then out came the rum which they mixed with a tea and juice thing. Pretty nice but I didn't finish as it a little too strong. I'm not a big dark rum drinker and tomorrow is our longest day so I did not want a self inflicted struggle. We were all in bed about 8 pm.
Today we also had to wave goodbye toilets with seats. From this morning it's been squat toilets all the way. In terms of squat toilets they have been ok but the ones at this camp site are horrid. The smell in unbelievable. It's a big camp site 10 camp grounds and 4 toilets. There are not even bins in the toilets so I'm not overly sure what to do with all the rubbish. I think most of us girls and even the boys are trying hard to not have to do a number 2 till we get back to Cusco and a proper toilet. Stomach hurts but it might be worth it. At camp we are usually just going to the toilet in the bush its much nicer then the bathrooms provided.
It's been raining since dinner tonight (it's 9pm now) so I'm pretty terrified about tomorrows 10 hour hike. Hoping and praying the rain stops tonight. I don't trust this cheap poncho to keep my bag and myself dry. Apparently if it's clear the scenery is spectacular and we will get first glimpses of Manchu Picchu mountains.
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