The Inca Trail Trek - Along the Paths of Ancients
The start of the hike was a wide trail with the Rio Urubamba roaring to our side. It’s a good thing the trail was wide, because even though they limit the number of trekkers, there was a ridiculous number of people ambling about. I felt like I was in a crowded park instead of a multi-day trek into nature and history. What a stark contrast to the sparsely travelled trails in Burma.
Although my trekmate Matt and I were carrying a heavy load, the burden of my ever increasing array of photographic equipment, we walked quite comfortably.
With no shortage of rocks, there were plenty of natural benches when we needed a break. You had to keep close eye on your snacks though, as the local goats and dogs were quick to snatch up your dietary delights. Judging from their healthy coats they were successful more often than not
The next day, breakfast exceeded expectations. We had pancakes, real light, fluffy pancakes, unlike whatever it was they served on Everest. There was also bread and oatmeal among other assorted treats. We would need it, because the second day of the trek was the hardest of the four days. Our goal was to make it over Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,200m / 13,770’. While I was comfortable with the thought of going that high, it would be higher than Matt ever hiked.
Our progress was slow. By the time we got to the tea break, everybody else was shoving off. We rested a bit to recharge and then headed up the final steep climb to the peak over 300m / 984’ above us. Looking up the trail, I went into coaching mode. “Let’s break it up into 10 pushes of 100 vertical feet at a time. After making good progress on the first couple of pushes, Matt suffered. Sweaty, with labored breathing, climbing 100 vertical feet at a time wasn’t going to get Matt to the top. So we divided the rest of the climb into small 10m / 33’ vertical segments. This was the first trip I took a GPS and it’s altimeter came in handy. Matt was sucking air attempting to get oxygen to his burning hamstrings. Our progress was deadly slow. However, we kept gaining altitude. Finally, we could see tiny specks of people standing at the top of the pass. While enthusiasm said, “let’s make it in one last push,” we had to continue to break it into small segments of progress. After what seemed like an eternity Matt was one tired, hot, sweaty boy, but he had completed the hardest part of the trek.
The story continues...