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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: -12.8167, -72.7833
It's not the distance, it's the elevation.
I didn't have time or facilities to blog from the trail, which is kind of a shame because I'm sure I've forgotten so much. In a way though, I'm sure it is good to forget some things like the way you feel when you are gasping for breath and staring straight up a mountain trail that looks like it has no end. The second day was the hardest for me because it has the steepest uphill climb. The two challenges of the trail are steep inclines (very cardio intensive) and steep declines (hell on the joints). I'm blessed with good knees so I found up much, much harder than down.
The day started with a trip to the bathroom which was guarded by a donkey and a pig. I'm not going to dwell on the state of the facilities along the way, but they are not for the faint of heart or nose. If you plan to go, just know that you should bring toilet paper, wet wipes, a flashlight and be prepared for unpleasantness.
The hike on Day 2 started pretty pleasantly. We hiked for about an hour and stopped for "2nd
One of the cool things about the Incan Ruins in this area is that from above the construction was done in a way that it each one looks like and Incan constellation. David says that Peru is considering rebranding the trail as the Milky Way Trail because the design of the ruins follow the constellations from (east to west?) one side to the other in the same order as the constellations of the Milky Way.
breakfast" which consisted mainly of tea and popcorn. It was in a lovely little valley called "Tres Piedres." This stop was to fortify us for the big climb up to "Dead Woman's Pass" at roughly 14,500 feet. I enjoyed both the popcorn and the llama sightings we had here. We were all also entertained by the fact that we were able to purchase a liter bottle of rum here for about $12. The guides suggested that we might want to kick in for a bottle for ourselves and one for the porters. At $12/ bottle, how could we say no?
From there it was about 4 hours straight up. The higher you get, the colder and windier it becomes. We made the summit at the same time as Laura & Dave and celebrated briefly by taking pictures at the sign in the fog. Then it is straight back down the other side-- maybe 2 hours to the camp site. We ate both a late lunch and dinner there and were really grateful to be done early. The camp site is just under 12,000 ft.
It had been an early morning so I think everyone took a nap that afternoon between
lunch and dinner. After dinner we had a toast with sweetened hot tea laced with the rum. We thought that the chasquis had the same, but Sebastien spoke to them the next day and they told him that they never saw the rum. We still don't know if the guides took it or the cook made the executive decision that they weren't to have it. A Peruvian Mystery. Sebastien also found out that the reason many of the chasquis wear flip flops stuffed with grass is that they can't afford hiking boots. Some hiking companies provide them, but Peru Treks does not. I think the company really needs to step up and buy adequate shoes for these guys and require them to have them as part of the uniform (to keep them from selling the shoes). I said as much on my post-trail survey. I know several others did as well.
The night was long and very cold. Poor Mike had the worst of it because he was too tall for his sleeping bag. Even the alpaca hats and gloves were not enough insulation to keep us warm. In the dark of the night I just kept reminding myself that the
"hard part" was over.
Tot: 0.482s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 13; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0359s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb