Prior to setting off, all of your questions will be answered by your guides. In my case it was Juan Carlos, a pocket rocket and Marco. Juan is incredibly professional and extremely passionate about his job, which makes it such a pleasure. Whilst on the trek he´ll explain detailed info about flora and faina as well as the archaeology and history of the Incas in such a wau, you can´t help but hang off every word.
Day 1 is straightforward, and an easy introduction to the terrain and temeprature. perhasp 10km, in 4 hours, so its taken very slowly. The snacks and meals provided by the chef are exceptional. Which is so rewarding after a hard day.
The camp was by a stream, but was sheltered and as we werent too highy up, comofrtable. As well as the fact it was on grass. The sleeping mats provided are quite thick, and the sleeping bags also. Although I can´t stress enough how you will need thermals to sleep in as you gain altitude.
Day 2 - infamous amongst Inca Trek mythology. It is a steep climb, but its split up with several short breaks every 20 mins or so, and a couple of longer 30 minute stops for some snacks. My fitness levels leave a lot to be desired, but even I didn´t find it quite the horror I had been execting. I definitely felt the altitude gain, reaching 4,200m at Dead Woman´s Pass, but nothing chewing some coca leaves could sort out. We arrived at camp for 2.30pm, so not the longest day. The view over the moutnains was sensational and we could see the glaciers in the distance. Food again, was excpetional. Just as darkenss fell, the clouds lit up with an enormous thunderstorm, which was both magical and slightly alarming! sleep that night was cold, but the tent held strong with only a minor leak, which the team assisted with immediately. No one else had any issues.
Day 3 was a variety of ups and downs, with some steep steps to climb in parts, but ti was absolutely beautiful. The scenery changes quite drastically. The only thing I would mention is this isnt recommended for people who suffer from serious vertigo. There are some very steep drops and very narrow paths. Tonight´s camp was another beautiful setting. We arrived early and still with energy, so we climbed up to a sacrifical site, Runkuraq´ay, which nestles right in the centre of all of the surrounding glacier moutnains, and the reason it was chosen as a spiritual place. It´s a real treat to be able to climb this as it´s a very rare opportunity where you have time and energy to do so!
It rained again, and I must admit I was freezing. I really missed thermals, depsite wearing every single item of clothing - 7 layers in total. Knowing I had to get up at 2.30am to start the last day also wasnt optimum, but I was nervously excited about walking in the dark.
Day 4.. The 2.30am start was hell for me after no sleep. I was decidedly grumpy, which is quite unlike me. The terrain is all downhill - incredibly steep steps, with very narrow passes, and cliff drops which you most certainly don´t want to explore.. It is dangerous, there are no two ways about it. It had rained that night, my headlamp was incredibly weak in the pitch blackj, the steps are uneven and slick, with rocks on them you cant see, so several of our team did fall. TAKE THIS SLOWLY! Once dawn arrived, I perked up and all was forgotten. The scenery is absolutely stunning... We even managed to get songs going between the gang. We arrived at the sun gate for 8am I think.. I was exhausted and my eyes dont hide it! There were already a huge a with the amount of trekkers up there so we queued up to take our photos.
We trundled the last few kilometres to machu picchu and loved it. Its such a magical place, along with the knowledge youve gained along the way, you really experience a deep respect and connection with the site.
I must end this by saying that the porters who carry our equipment, and the chef who cooks the food deserve enormous praise. They work tirelessly day and night, running up the trails with 30kgs of equipment, always with a genuine smile. They wake you with coca tea in the mornings, and they become family.
Despite the hardships and the terror i felt at times.. I cant recommend the trek enough. The friends ive made, the epxerience ive had, the knowledge ive gained, and the photographs ive taken are out of this world..
Thank you Juan Carlos, Marco, all the porters, and the rest of my inca family, I´ll miss you all.