We woke up and had early breakfast in Ollantaytambo, to be picked up by the guides Wilbur (Senior) and Darwin (Junior) by 0730. We had about a half hour bus ride to the beginning point of the trek. At this point you have to get your permit and passport checked. It was sunny and about 20 ish degrees. The trek started river side and was very pretty.
It was all very flat and comfortable, the group we were in were quite fast walkers ( I thought anyway!) I guess we started walking around 0830ish? We had a break around 11. Then continued on. It was beginning to get shadier, the vegetation more dense and there was a period of climb involved.
I hit a serious wall! I found I wasn’t as gung ho as everyone else, I couldn’t keep up and I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like I was letting this team down by being slow! It was terrible. Greg and I were definatly the least fit of the bunch and I just couldn’t handle the uphill stretches. I let it get to my head a bit and I struggled to the stop point for lunch. I was only ever like 5 to 10 minutes behind everyone else but it felt shitty, I have to say.
I was worried about the next day, as we were supposedly doing the easy part of the climb today. The guides were..wonderful about it. They told me not to worry, to enjoy the walking. That there was no point doing the trail if you couldn’t enjoy it.
The porters were amazing and lovely too, they clapped when we made camp for lunch. At the time I was so frustrated and flutterpated, it made me cry a little. They do it for everyone, but it still felt nice. I’ll talk about some other things now, not just my terrible struggle with being an unfit tart!
The porters are machines. They jog up those mountains with 25kgs on their back, as you trek you will here them coming and make way for them as they flit by. They range in ages from 19 to 50-60’s. They beat you to check points and have a tent set up for lunch by the time you drag your sorry arse into camp.
SO, where was I? We had lunch and the food was great. The porters set you up with as much liquid and food nourishment as you can handle. I can’t remember what we had that first lunch, but it was carb-o-licous. I know for sure there was a soup starter involved!
After lunch was slow going as wel, but I made it eventually. The mountains are amazing. You can see sow capped peaks and mist, it’s very, very cool. One of the mountains is named “Veronica” after the first woman who climbed it. I think we stopped at two Inca sites.
I have to look over my map and figure out which ones they were!
We got into camp that night around 4.30 ish? We had a chance to peel off our shoes and have a quick splash wash. Hiking when all the set up and break down is done for you is awesome! We had an official meet up with the porters, they all introduced themselves and let it be known wether they were single or not! Cheeky Buggers.
We then had afternoon tea – people were getting into the coca tea. It tastes a little like green tea, but not really. I still can’t decide wether it helps with the altitude or not. After a bit more relaxing, it was then dinner, discussing the next day and bed. It was dark and cold! We got told to sleep on any damp clothes in an attempt to dry them. We eventually got to sleep, it was very cold, but I quite liked it. I haven’t camped properly for some time!
Sleeping on wet clothes sounds horrible… especially if it was already cold!
Good on you for doing this Tan! I can just imagine you having a sook and cry, and just generally getting up set about it, mainly because I would have done the same thing! I think what they said about enjoy the trail in a good point though, dont worry about all those fitness freaks and just be you – i guarentee most of us here at home would be lagging even further behind!
Your doing great and i am proud of you! … a lil disappointed there are no photos though. (that one of greg in the poncho makes me laugh every time!)