Our fearless duo have crossed the ocean and begin their journey……..
Our story continues as Canuck Duck tells of meeting new friends and beginning the trek.
The night before:
The first thing that strikes us at the pre-trek briefing is that we are a few years older than our fellow trekkers. Quite a few years to be exact! But we have trained. Karen and I have braved the Everest Base Camp Trek and David has a number of marathons under his belt. It’s only 4 days. How hard can it be?
As we board our bus at 5:15 am the following morning, we are full of enthusiasm. There is a nervous buzz among our 13 new found friends. We can almost hear the mental check-lists being ticked off in 16 heads. Did I bring the right clothes? Where did I put my altitude medication? Am I going to like my fellow trekkers?
By the time we hit the trail it is already mid-morning. The weather is pleasant. Our packs seem deceptively light. Day 2 is said to be the difficult day and so today we are prepared for a nice “walk in the park!”
We chat with many of our fellow trekkers. We are the only Canadians. There are 2 Brits and the rest are American.
We learn a lot about our fellow travellers – from both words and actions. We all have reasons for being here and challenges to meet along our way. Some have illnesses and medical conditions, some have weight challenges, some suffer from altitude sickness but ALL of us are convinced that we can get to our destination ………… the lost city of the Incas – Machu Picchu.
By early afternoon we reach our camp. I am proud to have accomplished my first day on the Inca Trail. But wait – There is only a dining tent set up! Good heavens. Is it really only lunch time?. We are served a delicious hot lunch by our amazing cook and his assistants who have also managed to produce two vegetarian and one gluten-free meal – all on camp stoves. Karen says she couldn’t manage that at home!
By now, one of our group has become quite ill. Luckily an ambulance in the form of a horse is magically produced. She is propped up and sent on her way. Unfortunately the horse cannot continue once the terrain gets steep and rocky which happens soon enough. With the help of the guides, she continues on.
As the rocky steps become more common, we realize that we are now quite tired. The steps are higher than normal steps and quite uneven. Those Incas must have had very long legs! Going down is no easier than going up. Chatter is much less frequent and the most common sound is heavy breathing.
It is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and darkness sets in early in the mountains. Our group has spread out and Karen I find ourselves walking alone discussing which compartment of our packs we might have stored our headlamps. We stop to watch an exceptionally large hummingbird and are joined by the group of young Americans from the Boston area. We offer each other gasps of encouragement as we begin the final ascent to our camp.
Wilfredo, our guide is now playing his flute to guide us to our campsite. It’s haunting and beautiful and the perfect end to a very strenuous day. David arrived a few minutes before and now shows us to our tent with our a basin of warn water and towel. We had hoped he was going to run us a bath and pour a gin and tonic. However, even the squat toilets seem inviting at this point.
Next we have happy hour with popcorn, cookies and herbal teas. Then we are served another amazing meal that includes carved vegetables as garnish and a nice variety of meats and vegetables. Finally we drag our weary bodies off to our tents. Morning will come early at 6:00am.
The story continues Tues July 26