Don’t underestimate the challenge of hiking the Inca Trail in Peru!
Day One on Inca Trail.
We Heard it was Easy!
Starting the Inca Trail at Km82; this is supposed to be an ‘easy day’. A review at the end of the day suggests otherwise.
Day Two on Inca Trail.
The Challenge Begins
This is the hardest day on the trail. Informative progress reports are given during the climb for a definitive look at what Day Two’s morning has to offer.
Day Two on Inca Trail.
Conquering Dead Woman’s Pass
Part Three covers the last grinding climb to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass on this the hardest day on the trail. Progress reports during the climb speak of the challenges faced and the attitude needed to push on.
Day Two on Inca Trail.
After Dead Woman’s Pass
After conquering Dead Woman’s Pass at 4200m asl, going downhill isn’t all that easy. At camp Pacaymayo a review of the hardest day on the Inca Trail.
Day Three on Inca Trail.
Ups and Downs.
The day starts with more “gringo killers” and shows that going down has its own challenges. This part of the trail is punctuated by numerous archeological sites and tropical cloud forests with an end reward of cerveza (beer) at camp Winay Wayna.
Day Four on Inca Trail.
Reaching Machu Picchu
An early start to reach Sun Gate. The fog begins to lift as they reach their goal of Machu Picchu. Part Six wraps up with a review of the adventure and recommendations for those who plan to hike the famed Inca Trail.
THE INCA TRAIL, PERU
Tent supplied and erected. Sleeping bags may be rented. Mattresses included but carried by hiker unless extra porter services are hired.
Recommend: Pack very light for hike. Hire extra porter services to carry heavier items including sleeping bag and mattress, if not for all days, at least for 2nd day.
Before and after hiking the Inca Trail: Inkarri Hostel (Sherrie stayed on at Inkarri while Terry, Angela and Stephen hiked the trail.)
Recommend: Inkarri Hostel is well located in Cuzco on a narrow one-way street off the high priced tourist squares. Well sized rooms are simple and clean with tv. Quiet rooms face inner courtyards. If wanting WiFi be sure to ask as it is not available to all rooms. Complementary use of guest computers. Small breakfast included. Arrangements may be made to keep luggage while hiking the trail.
Bookings for the Inca Trail were made with Wasai Lodge & Expeditions (booked Peruvian Amazon Jungle adventure at same time).
FOOD & DRINK ON THE INCA TRAIL
MEALS: Breakfast (other than first day), lunch (other than fourth day), dinner (other than fourth day) was included with our package. Coca tea was available first thing in the morning and at all meals. The meals were plentiful, tasty (ie: trout, chicken, pizza, soups, salads), designed for rigorous trekking and catered to dietary needs (ie: vegetarian, allergies). After breakfast our team of porters and cook would breakdown camp, pass us somewhere on the trail, and have tent and table set up and be cooking by the time we reached our lunch stop.
SNACKS: Snacks and drinks available for purchase from locals set up at rest stops until lunch the second day. At camp on the third night there is a lodge with snacks, simple meals and beer available.
DRINKS: Taking in lots of fluids is necessary for such a climb. Water, and often Gatorade can be purchased where they sell snacks.
Recommend: Water is heavy so only carry what you will drink that day.
Coca tea and coca leaves: Drinking of coca tea, as well as chewing coca leaves, increases the absorption of oxygen into the blood, which helps combat altitude sickness and aids the digestive system. On the trail, it is usually served at every meal.
An article from The Sydney Globalist 2009 reads “The coca leaf – small, dark green and relatively unremarkable would probably not be noticed by an untrained eye. Tourists arriving in La Paz eagerly take photos of Indigenous women selling the plant, while bewildered locals look on. As you chew the coca leaf your mouth numbs, your headache clears and breathing becomes easier at the extreme altitude. Apart from these humble side effects, the leaf is used for another purpose: as the base ingredient in the manufacture of cocaine. It is this fact that has caused an international legal, political and economic war for over 48 years.
Take seriously the recommendations of your guiding company on footwear.
Recommend: The trail goes up and down, for hours, often on uneven stone steps of differing height, depth and degree of steepness which can be treacherous when wet from rain or damp in cloud forests. Comfortable, worn-in hiking boots with good gripping tread and ankle support are recommended.
Recommend: Hiking poles are of great help on the trail … especially going down to help keep balance and take some pressure off knees. Wood poles with material grips and wrist bands can be purchased cheaply (under $2 US) at the start of the trail. (If you want to take them home as a souvenir, be prepare to pay extra at the airport.)
TO & FROM THE TRAIL
Our guide, Maria, picked us up at our Cuzco hotel by van at 4:45am for 2 hour drive to Km82, the trail’s start point. At conclusion of hike and Machu Picchu tour, we returned to Cuzco by bus, train and bus which were included as part of our hiking arrangements with Wasai.