Inca Trail

We were picked up at our hotel around 5 am and headed out towards Ollantaytambo where we would be catching a train to Km 104, where we would be starting our trek.  En route, our driver and guide noticed a dead wild cat on the road and stopped not only to take a look but also to collect some of its fur for an amulet.  We stopped off at a restaurant where we could fuel up on coca tea and breakfast before our hike and where we saw these cute guinea pigs.

guinea pigs

Once we arrived in Ollayantaytambo, we boarded the train.  Adam and I sat across from our guide, Alex, and a fellow guide named Papi.  We spoke about books for a bit and Papi asked if we had read Guns, Germs and Steel.  Adam said he hadn’t but that I had and Papi asked if we had the book with us.  We said we didn’t and he explained that he had searched for the book in Lima but hadn’t had any luck finding it making us realize how lucky we were to live in a country where obtaining a book is nearly effortless.  As we got closer to our destination, I stood up and peered out the window to look for torrent ducks.  We got out at Km 104 and saw our first ruins of the day.

Inca Trail ruins I- A photo

After touring the ruins, it was onto the serious business of hiking.  I won’t deny that hiking the Inca Trail, even just the 5.6 mile segment that we hiked, was challenging, particularly when you factor in all the steps, the altitude, the ascent (approximately 2000 feet), the heat, and the fact that we had to carry everything we would need for two days, including our lunches and water.  But it wasn’t as bad as I had feared–I had had much apprehension about this hike because I have plantar fasciitis in one foot and had actually been going to physical therapy for the past three months in preparation for the hike.  I was very glad I went back the previous night to request the walking pole rental–it made a big difference!  While the hike was challenging, the scenery was beautiful and I enjoyed talking with Alex and finding out more about Peru along the way.  Unfortunately, I did not take as many photos as I should have so most of these are Adam’s.

Inca Trail- A photo 1

Inca Trail- A photo 2

Inca Trail- A photo 4

Inca Trail- A photo 5

Inca Trail- A photo 6

Along the way, we saw these nice waterfalls.

Inka Trail waterfall

We ate lunch at Winay Wayna

Winay Wayna- A photo 1

Winay Wayna- A photo 2

Winay Wayna- A photo 3

Carefree Alex

Carefree Alex

Winay Wayna- A photo 5

We continued walking along the Inca Trail and Alex spotted this cool orchid.

Inka Trail one day orchid

Sometime between 4 and 5, we reached our final destination, the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu from Sun Gate- A photo 1

Machu Picchu from Sun Gate yay- A photo

Machu Picchu llamas- A photo

Unfortunately, our hike didn’t end here.  The last segment was actually the most challenging for me, personally, because it was comprised of a lot of uneven rocks and I feared stepping on one with my right heel and retriggering plantar fasciitis related pain.  My knees also started hurting at this point but I trudged on and, eventually, we made it to the area where the buses to Aguas Calientes were located.

Alex walked us to our hotels and I was sad to see our hotel room was less than ideal but knew we’d only be staying for one night.  After relaxing for an hour, we reconvened for dinner and toasted to our finishing the hike successfully.  Incidentally, it was also our wedding anniversary–quite a way to spend our anniversary!

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