Inca Trail

Like a four day walk in the Surrey Hills. Up and down and then back up again and then….. This was a stunning trek…Andes Mountains then dropping down into the Cloud Forest and then Rain Forest (it certainly did).
Bradley, from the States, and I were supported by Ruben and our chef and 4 porters. We bonded well and were a quick fast team and were often at one of the many Inca sites or head of the pass first. this meant we had a good look round the sites on our own. We were the Adventurers the rest poor Tourists. Ruben had a full on personality and so led us with gusto and fun. It was still ‘pole pole’ and at times pretty tough. It was good to have goals…we had two , Machu Picchu of course but getting over Dead Women’s Pass – Warmiwanuscca – on the second day seemed a pretty tough challenge.
First thing was to check the porter’s ruck sacks. 20 kg and no more. (Some years previously I had checked out the company with Rebecca C who had hoped to join me. Thanks R as you say, there in spirit.) Their credentials seemed first class and indeed so it proved. Their clothes, jackets etc were good and they had the same sleeping kit, tents and food as us. It’s a punishing job however.) Then we went through passport controls and then were off at about midday, from memory. 11/12 km goodish track with overall climb of only 250 mts to our first camp. Training day. Superb scenery with high mountains with snow and reducing glaciers in the distance. Also views of a Superb Inca site Llaqtapata on the other side of the valley. Our dinner was the first really tasty meal of many, before bed at 8.
Next day up at 5.30 for the hard one. 1215 m up to 4215m at Warmiwanuscca. It turned out to be a cracking day, a perfect day with visibility a million miles. The track was good and we moved pretty smoothly to reach the top at about midday…all these timings are from memory. Stopped and jumped about a bit before continuing for a couple of hours down to the 2nd overnight camp.Roughly 12km in all. Ruben, Bradley and I got on really well…lots of chat coupled with time for ourselves. We instinctively seem to know when to stop to recover, water, photos etc. Incidentally the wildlife was mainly birds of course..no condors here.. But many hummingbirds, some at very high altitude. Deer and Llama here and there.
Again early to bed after another magic meal on a double burner. The idea is of course is to fill us up with food aka energy.
3rd day was when we saw more Inca sights, Cloud Forest and then Rain Forest. Also we were, except for the early part of the day, on the actual Inca Trail. The path made by them over 500 yrs ago. It was in superb condition. I think we counted about 5 loose stones until we got to MP. Ruben told us the only maintenance carried out is to cut back the brush from the sides. Close-knit stones and firm steps. Most of the day was fine and sunny. However as we dropped from Cloud to Rain Forest, rain clouds skirted the other side of the valley until about an hour or so before our finish they decided to give us a welcome in the form of very heavy rain and then hail. Ponchos and waterproofs kept us reasonably dry. Onward to reach the 3rd camp site some 1 1/2 hrs short of the Sun Gate. This is first time the trail felt busy with other trekkers. That night we said goodbye to our porters as they would strike camp early tomorrow and take another quicker route down avoiding MP.
So another early night for 4.30am wake up. And so we were all up early for the short walk in the early morning.
And so our first view at about 7am. of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate was “like the book says” -Wonderful! High-5s all round.
The Sun Gate (Inti Punku) configuration seems to suggest some sort control gate on the Trail. (The Sun figures heavily in the Inca Culture as does astronomy generally.)
After admiring the view and a few photos, it’s down, down to the Sanctuary. Oh and it started to cross my mind whether our rather complex planning had worked and if Jan and I would arrive at the same time or even the same day?!?
Blimey and there she was right in front of us in the middle of Machu Picchu. More Hugs!

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5 thoughts on “Inca Trail

  1. Well done Alan, what stunning photos of the trail ! Very interesting market etc…following your blog is a bit like a Geography field trip done from our office, I am enjoying it. Best wishes to both of you, we have an Indian Summer in Surrey, it is very warm for this time of year. Love, Anne and John.

    Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:21:42 +0000 To: annestortt@live.co.uk

  2. Well Done Alan! Great photo’s.
    We have just returned from the Lake District where we managed 6 days of walking with no rain! We had fantastic weather and there was a folk festival in the Old Dungeon Ghyll which kept us entertained. We missed you at Raven Crag (no late night cheese on toast).Carole & Ian xxx

  3. Beautiful photos and sounds like a perfect trek. So happy you have completed it Alan! Janet

  4. Fantastic Alan, looks great!
    Mallorca will seem a bit tame for us after looking at that.
    Off to Cyprus in next few days before Mallorca. Best wishes to you both
    David Lilian

  5. It looks brilliant. Well done.

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