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The following are entries from the diary I kept while hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu…
The bus finally picked us up this morning over an hour later than promised. I can’t believe we got up at 5am for nothing! We nearly gave up.
It was a long, bumpy ride to the beginning of the track.
The first part of the trail was not so bad. There is beautiful scenery of mountains and creeks. Some of the mountains are snow capped. The porters are amazing! They carry so much and go so fast! The first lunch was nice, in fact all of the meals have been good so far and its good having it all done for you.
The second part of the trek was harder and we were exhausted by the time we got to the camping site, and then we couldn’t find our group! We were so angry as we walked round and round, up and down for ages before we found them. Anyway had a good dinner and then an early night.
Highlight: The scenery
Lowlight: Waiting for them to pick us up
We woke up dreading the day after being told how hard it would be. We were right to be scared – it was bad!
We took four hours to get to the top of a pass which was pretty good. It was 4200m (we started at 3000m). It was uphill the whole way and total hell. We made pretty good time and did a good job. Every step was difficult by the end, and you would need a break after every one. Even when you knew there was only two steps left, you still needed a break. It’s by far the toughest thing I have done. I didn’t stay at the pass for long as it was so cold and rainy.
There are lots of other people on the trek too. We were told there is probably about 60-80 people doing the trek at the same time as us.
The hour down was hell too, as it was steep and rocky. It felt so good when we finally got to camp. It is nearly 4pm now (about 3 hours since we got here). I had a little nap and then some lunch. At least we got here in time to get a better tent this time. Now I am relaxing writing this!
Highlight: Having it over!
Lowlight: the walking
I woke up feeling sore for another big day. I was also incredibly tired as our sleeping bags weren’t warm enough. The first 1.5 hours to the second pass were as bad as the day before. So much for an easy day! The other 4.5 hours were not so bad. They were mostly downhill except for the third pass. It killed my knees though.
I saw a lot more Incan ruins today (finally!). When we finally got to the camp site, it seemed worth it. It has a big hall with a restaurant and bar where we had our meals. There are beautiful views of the surrounding mountains too.
I went and sat down when we first got there and had a coke. I was very disappointed that they didn’t have Inca cola. They had the music blaring and it was good hearing some of the favourites from home. Later on, I had a couple of beers to celebrate completing the walk. We even got a special dinner with some custard and jelly for desert and then some red wine!
We all gave tips to the porters and most of the group went to bed. I stayed up a bit later chatting to some other people (mainly a totally obnoxious American who thought nothing was good unless it was American) before going to bed.
Highlight: relaxing with a beer!
Lowlight: the downhill walk
I woke up INCREDIBLY sore for the 4am start. I don’t really know why it was so necessary to go so early as we didn’t get there in time for ‘daybreak’ anyway (you cant see the sunrise at this time of year because of the mountains). After being told it was a flat two hour walk to Machu Picchu, we soon found out that this was a lie. One section was like a 10 meter high wall we all had to climb up! I was bloody exhausted by the time we got to some temple where you could view Machu Picchu in the valley below. Or at least we would have been able to if it hadn’t been so cloudy!
An hour later we arrived! We had hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! It was amazing and quite a large site. It didn’t make the walk worth it though. I had read many people online before I left saying that you needed to do the Inca Trail, as it made it so much more amazing to arrive at Machu Picchu in that way. For me, I must say that it kind of had the opposite effect. I was so tired that I couldn’t really be bothered with it.
We stayed a little while after our tour ended (we were guided round the site but I was too tired to hear any of it) and then actually walked 1.25 hours to the closest town, Aguas Calientes, as the bus would have been 31 soles for the both of us. Being in this cheap country has made that seem like a ludicrously large amount.
I felt like my body was falling apart. Aguas Calientes seemed like a nice town. Everything was a lot more modern that other places around here, although more expensive (not as bad as prices at Machu Picchu though which was ridiculous). Now, we are on the train going back to Cusco.
(later) Well I’m finally lying on a bed in the hostel… all clean, yay! Train was a bit of a joke It started well with beautiful scenery but then stopped a few times. Once, because the lights went out, another time it just stopped, went backwards for awhile and then went forwards again for no apparent reason. Another time we think it hit something/one!
When we finally got to Cusco, the train spent ages going back and forth changing tracks and only going slightly forward. We finally got here though! There were heaps of taxis at station thankfully.
We got back to hostel and got a room only to find the door wouldn’t shut so we got another one! Then we had dinner and a beautiful, long, hot shower!
Highlight: Finishing and getting a shower and a bed
Lowlight: walk to Machu Picchu
You can also read my overall thoughts about hiking the inca trail in Should I hike the Inca Trail? Please forgive the photos as this was before I had a digital camera.