A Travellerspoint blog


Classic Inca Trail....

Four Days to Machu Picchu


Ok so where to begin because it has been 4 days. Four of the most physically demanding yet beautiful days of my life. I will try to explain but this may be difficult.

Day one:

We woke at 4:30 to have a crappy breakfast at the hotel at 5:30. Met our guides Marilyn and Fabian at 6. Then off to Ollantayambo to pick up 2 Aussie couples who would later prove their greater physical superiority....More of that later. Oh and there were also the two British girls from our previous Dragonman group, Megan and Kirstin.
Next we stopped to buy coca leaves and walking sticks and prepared to go through check in. Of course two tickets were missing....guess who's.....LOL They were with the other intrepid group so no big worries there.
We went across a little suspended bridge and then took a group photo at our starting point of the Inca Trail in front of the entrance sign.

Here is where the truth should be stated....we totally underestimated the altitude, mental and physical strain and the true test of character that the INca trail would challenge....In other words....Imagine running up and down the empire state building steps for 4 days straight while breathing through a pillow...or perhaps doing a marathon with only one working lung, two feet full of blisters and a bloody nose...oh and an annoying girl who you would rather push off the cliff then listen to her say another word.....Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I digress....Really aside from all that it was FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!

So the first day was do-able but still quite strenuous. We started at 8.2 Km at an altitude of 8,528 feet or 2,600 meters. We ended and camped at Hatuchaca which was at 9,646 feet. Now there is something you should know about the Inca Trail if you don´t already.... It is not a straight climb up to the top to Machu Picchu....It is actually up and down and up and down and up and down ....(Peruvian Flat) and Machu Picchu is not the highest point of the trail......

We had a cook named Walter, his assistant chef William, Head Porter named Willber and 12 other porters for the 10 of us including our two guides. The food they served was the best food I have had in all of Peru in the last two weeks. They even made a birthday cake with icing for that girl I wanted to push over the cliff..... Quite impressive! Plus they just made us all look like fat, old cows who could barely walk with the way they sprinted up and down the trail carring 5x what we did....The regualation now is no more then 18 Kilos- 45 pounds.

Our tents were warm with sleeping mats and always ready when we arrived.

Day 2 (SHEER HELL DAY).....................

Ok for you to understand what this day was like let me try to do my best to give you some numbers and names. This day we were to climb up to the first Pass and back down before lunch and then do the 2nd after lunch.....

So we start out at 9,646 feet and climb the biggest stairway to heaven I have ever seen in my life to reach Abra de Warmi Wanusca, translation from Quechua- Dead Woman`s Pass at 13,776 feet. When we finally did reach the top I was so moved by the sight, the pain, and the accomplishment I literaly cried.....But wait now we had to go down for lunch....yea lunch there was more to come even after that..... (Almost there.....2 more hours...your almost there...... another hour.....your almost there) And let us not underestimate the process of going down hill.....yea you may be able to use your lungs again in an orderly fashion that doesn´t make you want to poke a pen in your throat for extra oxygen.....but alas down hill for 3 hours straight can be like drilling a hole through your knees.... (Ok I wasn´t prepared)! So after decending about 1,000 feet for lunch to 12,464 feet it was time to go back up again...YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Suck it stairmaster!!!!! Where was the Inca Trail setting back at the gym????

Second Pass back up to 12,916 feet.....nice lake some more ruins and then.......you got it back down but not reallythat far just a few hundred feet. Now all this up and down you would think we were travelling around the frig,n world and back but actually the distance was only about 35 KM.....=-)

Camp with Puma Killer Mosquitos...what are those you ask???? They look like gnats and bite like mosquitos...fun I am hoping customs lets me back into the country because one look at me and you would think I have small pox or some other fun jungle disease.....but we survived day two and worst was behind us. I want to say that even though I am being silly or this sounds like I was miserable the whole time I wasn´t......... all the time......just some but it really was worth it.

Day 3 (There goes my knees)
Oh it started so lovely with gorgeous views atop mountians to the 3rd pass- a walk in the park compared to the day before. WE were going to be fine today....... After the beautiful view at the 3rd pass at about 11,772 feet it was down hill to lunch and then the rest of the day was free to relax.......ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Oh wait there goes my knee so going down hill turned into a 4 hour production of me with my Knee and Megan (the Brit I like) with her bad hip...hobbling down the mountian with our walking sticks while Thom kept our guide Fabian from being bored by checking out every Peruvian orchid. So then as we are hobbling down the mountian to get to our final campsite located at 8,829 feet so ya know it was only 2,000 feet.....these lovely bees decided to keep us company....how nice. They really loved me and while I knew they didn,t sting or bite the constant buzzing in my face and ears was enough to make the temptaion of throwing myself down the cliff a reasonable option. Alas....we made it again and the next day was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

It's me, Thom now so the style might change a bit but bear with me while Kelly is uplaoding some pictures to Facebook....

For dinner that night (it would be our last - with the porters NOT for the remaining parts of our trip) we had a feast fit for Pacha Pappa (Holy Mountain god)!
As we feasted we prepared a song which we were to perform for the porters as a sign of friendship and thanks for ALL they had done for us. We ate and prepared our song and Fabian folded many varieties of Oragami, which he gave to each of us as his good bye gift. Aftr the meal we all gathered together, we sang our song, the porters sang a song for us and we huddled together for a group photo - great fun - now...
To BED - 4:30 wake is not far off!!

Day 4 (the HOLY GRAIL)
Both of us in pain (did we mention that I, Thom, had developed two quarter sized raw blisters on the back's of each heel?) but determined to complete our "pilgrimage" we joined the waiting line to climb to the Sungate, Inti Punku, where I was going to let out a well guarded plan that was some 9 months in the making - and yes like gestation, the final delivery would have prove to be a bit painful...

We arrived at Inki Punku in time to see the sun clear teh mountains in all of it's splendor...
Unfortunately there were many others around, no real PRIVACY but...
I took the moment that was presented and unveiled the ring! Not the best delivery or place but the secret was NO LONGER!!! We walked and talked and she said YES!

Posted by Kelly Rose 08:36 Archived in Peru Tagged foot Comments (9)

Chivay, Espinar, Raqchi and now Cusco


Ok so we have been traveling around now for the last few days to places where I did not have internet acess so I am going to try and recap as best as I can.
Last place I left off at was Arequipa. From there we traveled to Chivay where we went as high as 4,600 meters! Do the math for feet. This is twice the altitude of Machu Pichu! Thom and I were feeling altitude sickness. Headaches at the back of your neck, light headed and even a little dizzy. I think I had it worst then everyone. Along the way we stopped at this smally place to buy Coca leaves and drink Coca Tea which is made from the leaves and hot water. The tea was quite nice kinda reminded me of green tea. Chewing on the leaves..eh... you need to add this pellet thing to them to make it work well and that tastes nasty. So Atilla gave us a "How to chew Coca Leaves" lesson on the bus. What it does is it makes your mouth and throat a little numb so that you relax and actually take in more oxygen. Sure why not....
At Chivay we met up with another Itrepid/Dragonman group that was basicly doing the same trip we were but from the opposite direction La Paz- Lima. It was nice to meet some new people and we all joined together to go to the Hot Springs that night. Very nice, it did not smell strongly of sulfer like some hot springs can. That night we went to a pretty bad resturant where we all waited for hours to get the wrong food that we ordered. Ha! I think it was because there was a big festival going on outside that night. I was too cold and sick from the altitude to really enjoy that festival but I think Thom got some video.
The next moring we awoke around 5:30 so that we could leave and get a good spot at Colca Canyon. The Canyon is one of the biggest in the world, 3x the size of our Grand Canyon. We wanted to get a good spot because when the sun hits just right in the morning the Condors circle up out of the Canyon and right over your head. They are huge birds!!! After taking 50 photos where probably only one or two are decent...LOL.... we drove to Espinar.
Espinar was really only a stop over to make our journey to Raquchi shorter.
At Raqchi we did our home stays!!! It was really nice. This town is known for making pottery from the clay and volcanic elements in the surrounding area. The men make it and women paint and cell it. Thom, Megan and I were sent to one family home while the other three were sent to another. After eating diner with Gido and Carmen (Two children who lived there) they dressed us up in traditional clothing where we had a ceromony and danced around the fire while the women sang and a man played a guitar with 18 strings. They were so kind.
Today we woke at our homestay and went to see a demonstration on how they make the pottery. Thom got to make one as well. Then after many hugs and goodbyes we drove to Cusco.
We are here for today and have a meeting tomorrow morning about our treck up the Inca Trail which we will be starting on the 20th. I am a bit nervous since even thought the altitude sickness had gone away and should not be as bad since the elevation is not as high as where we were, it still knocks the wind out of you just to walk up a flight of steps or bend over to tie your shoes. Ehhhhhhhhhh we'll be fine and if not there is always the emergency donkey to take us back down.....
Seriosly I am more worried about being cold at night then anything so I am going into Cusco to buy some long Johns I think today. The trek will take us 4 days to reach the top and then we will be back in Cusco for a whole other free day before we start the final leg of our Journey to La Paz. I will be putting up pictures here today or tomorrow as well since they have a decent computer system here.
Love and Miss you guys!

Posted by Kelly Rose 11:58 Archived in Peru Tagged events Comments (4)


all seasons in one day

Yesterday we woke up with a free day to explore Arequipa. First things first...we sent our Laundry to get done since that is the only way you can do it here (Fine by me!) The city is actually a lot larger then I thought. It is a city like Lima but a lot cleaner, safer and nicer. All of us pretty much just wanted to walk around town do some shoppping and visit the Plaza de Arms......(I think every city here has one of these). The weather here goes from very hot strong sun and no humidity to pretty chilly nights. Thom and I walked around town and visited lots of shops. I bought a cheap pair of Jeans since there was talk of going out that night. Then I found a fabulous store that was filled with clothes hats and scarves made from really nice quality baby alpaca wool. It was a family run buisness by a really sweet and kind Mother and Daughter. They let us try on everything! Many of the hats and scarves were hand made. I bought an orange turtle neck sweater and a great hat in the Andes style with the flaps on the side. Later when I get to Cusco I want to buy a really warm wool pull'over for the Inca Trail. Many things here are really cheap for us since it is about 3 Sols to the Dollar.

Now moving on....
Last night all the Ladies and Atilla and Guytano went out to dance. We went to a Peruvian Modern Night Club. We were the only gringa´s in the place but we still had a pretty good time dancing to the mix of techno and Latin american beats. Many drinks were had by all. I will just leave it at that for now. But we all got home safe.

Today we are leaving Arequipa at noon to head to Chivay. Atilla said that we may feel the altitude there so I am hoping that I no one gets sick. We are stopping there to try out the HOT SPRING!!! Yeah!!!! More to come. I did put some pics up on Facebook and if you are not my friend or don´t have an account I will be posting some here soon as well. Time and proper Technology are variables in this equation.

Posted by Kelly Rose 07:21 Archived in Peru Tagged events Comments (4)

Nazca mummies and temples

all seasons in one day

After camping on the lawn of the hotel resort...(little silly) and a group breakfast we waited for our guide Johnson to meet up with us. We headed off into the desert and I mean the desert. The roads if you could call them that were hardly distinguishable. We arrived at the Nazca pyramid/ temple which was dicovered by an Itallian no less and it has taken 20 years just to unearth one of what they think are many hidden under the sand dumes. After our interesting tour of the temple we got to ride on roof top seats on our overland vehicle in through the desert! So much fun!!! Next it was off to see the mummies at the Cementerio de Chauchilla. Here we were lead to tombs where 2000 year old mummies, pottery, food and clothes are still perserved because of the deserts natural climate. (there is no f!"#$ apostrophie on this keyboard....yea the keyboards are quite a site at times...).

When that was done we drove to our next location, Purto Inca. t was a hillside ocean front bungalo resort in the center of Incan Ruins. We had a fire and Atilla made a fabulous dinner for us all!
Today we spent most of the day driving to Arequipa a city located in the valley of some impressive snow capped mountians and a volcano. Our bags should be meeting us here with in the hour. More later as we are getting ready to go out for dinner for a group meal. We will be here for the next two nights. Hopefully we will be able to post a picture or two as well.....Hopefully...if we get our bags... and the computer works....LOL
Thanks for reading and the comments. We love you guys!!! Feel free to send me all the gossip I am missing as well.

Posted by Kelly Rose 17:03 Archived in Peru Tagged events Comments (7)

Bastellas Islands, Sand Dumes and Nazca Lines

all seasons in one day 70 °F

I am going to keep this short and to the point since the keyboard I am typing on is not the best. Still no bags but we should be picking them up in a day or two. Yesterday and today were amazing!!! Our bus is great with a safe for our important things and tables and a small library. We went to the Bastilla Islands yesterday by speed boat. It was quite amazing. The water was so blue and the islands are covered completely with birds. We saw penguins, sea lions and dolphins that came right up to the boat. Then we had a great lunch by the sea. Next we drove an hour to the sand dumes where we road dune buggies and went sand boarding. So much fun!! I was nervous at first about the height but after the first try I was hooked. Next we were brought to where we would be camping out under the stars between the dunes. They prepared a fabulous fire and barbaque and plenty of pisca and cola. I had never slept outside with out a tent and this was a fantastic place to try, sand and no bugs! Atilla and Guytano our guides showed us how to stay warm by sleeping on coals from the fire burried in the sand. Today we woke and the morning moisture got the better of us and sand was stuck to everything! But we had a wonderful breakfast at this oais (resort looking area now but actually a natural water hole amongst the desert dunes) with fresh squeezed orange juice, french pressed coffee and huge pancakes with fruit and chocolate! Next we traveled to Nazca where we when up in a tiny plane to get the best view of the mysterious line drawings in the sand. I personally did not enjoy the sea sickness brought on from the small plane but all was well in the end. Tonight we are camping again but we are actuall at a resort...strange, there is a pool and the internet so besides the tents it is really upscale for camping. Tomorrow we are going to see some ancient cemetary and mummies I think??? Not completely sure I will have to get back to you on that one.
All of the people I have met have been really great and kind. There was Lenny a complete stranger who very graciously helped to translate the menu our first night in Lima when we were still kinda on our own and frazzled from the flight. Jesus and his brothers who run the dune buggy adventure and camped with us in the dunes and cooked our dinner had the greatest smiles. Plus all the people in our group have been kind and generous with sharing and taking care of one another. It has only been two days but they have been jam packed with excitement and memories.

Posted by Kelly Rose 06:29 Archived in Peru Tagged events Comments (7)

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