I climbed a mountain. It hurt.

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South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail
July 25th 2012
Published: July 25th 2012
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Yeh i Know! I totally did!

So as some of you probably know, we did the Salkantay trek, as we couldn{t get into the Inca Trail.. a shame, but Salkantay was meant to be good so we thought we{d go for it - Machu Picchu is the end game anyway.

It{s a 5 day 4 night hike with camping on all but the last night, but we decided to take the option of skipping the first day and night, and doing some practice hikes of our own... thus skipping the dullest day, and the coldest night - and hopefully saving my knee from undue pain.

(actually, I{m just going to apologise now if this is awful drivel... so very very tired, but we have to wait another 2 hours for the train and bus back to cusco so thought I may as well check in! Where was I....)

We spent two day 'practicise' hiking. It was massively hard. I freaked out going up the steep stairs at Pisac, which probably wesn{t the most reassuring start, and then got massively paranoid that i was going to 1) get altitude sickness and collapse on the mountain, 2) fully freak out halfway up the mountain due to my fear of falling down the mountain/stairs/rocky precipice (i had no idea what I was even doing), or 3) fall down the mountain/stairs/rocky precipice and die. I spent some time looking through my travel insurance to see if i was covered. I'm so old.

Anyway - finally pulled myself together (after losing and finding my sunglasses - tense times), and we set off at 3am on Sunday. So, in skipping the first day, we went straight into the second day - the hardest day - the day in which we climb a mountain. 4600m above sea level. Not wishing to labour the point, but it did really really hurt! I mean its so high! And cold! And high! I basically could barely breathe, and my legs weren{t fully cooperating.

Ah I wish I could show you photos but the connecting wire thingy is back in Cusco.... maybe I can add them later....

Anyway, having struggled up there obviously getting to the top was an amazing sense of achievement blah de blah. I think actually I was just happy to have a sit down.

I was told today that we hiked 57km over 3 and a bit days. Up and down and round the mountains of the Andes.. going from snow capped mountains, to sweaty jungles. It was pretty amazing. Though so so tiring - yesterday we left before dawn, and walked for 11 hours, up to some hill-top ruins, and then down down down to the valley, and then endless flat to the entrance to Machu Picchu/tourist hole, of Aguas Caliente. Frankly my feet hurt.

So much so that I decided that me, my tiredness, my sore feet and my gammy knee were just going to join the masses and get the bus up to machu Picchu at 5am this morning, rather than climb the 1000-odd steep stairs, and collapse in my own sweat. I don{t care if its cheating - i didn{t want to. And neither did the nice Mexican girl. So there. $9 well spent i think....

So yes, after 3 long days we finally made it to machu picchu. hoo-bloody-ray. What can I say that you haven{t heard before? its fantastic - its so amazing what{s been built up there in there sky... I wish I wasn{t so tired so I could better articulate what it was like. But I am. And Peru doesn{t really do coffee so thats pretty much that!

I think I{m too sleepy to go on.... basically, I achieved loads and am a bit proud of myself, my knee hurt but didn{t cave in, altitude is a bastard, climbing mountains is cool, and Machu Picchu is as impressive as you{ve heard.

Will add to this later if i{m awake/inspired... if not, tomorrow we{re off to Puno, the entrance to Lake Titicaca, and then into Bolivia, which I really hope is as cheap as I{ve heard cos we are bleeding money at the moment! Just spent a fiver on a bloody burger, chips and beer... it may not sound like much, but I{m meant to be bloody backpacking here. Stupid agua calientes....

Hope you{re all well, byeeeeeee!



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