Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – May 22nd to May25th
Ben and Haven left us in Cusco, while they headed off to the start of the Inca Trail. They would be hiking for 4 days along with their Uncle Tim and Ed. This is their story….
The first day was a very gentle hike that eased you into the process. We had 14 porters and one cook to carry all the bags, camping gear and supplies. Our head guide was Evert, who has done the trail 625 times! Haven felt like he talked too much, but he was passionate about his culture and traditions. Evert was also the first porter (from the local community) to be promoted to be a head guide. His father was a farmer and his grandfather was a medicine man. We hiked about 6 hours this day, with a stop for lunch and a quick visit at small village. At the small community they sold Ahah (a local beer made from corn 4% alcohol) that the porters all loved. The cook made fish for lunch, which Haven usually doesn’t like, but Fabio, the chef, did such a great job with the spices, it didn’t taste fishy, so Haven liked it. That evening was our first night in camp. There were donkeys behind us, but you couldn’t see any other camps. The campsite was set up inside a brick wall so the winds wouldn’t get to you. We (Haven & Ben) slept in a tent together each night in comfortable sleeping bags, but no pillows. We were so tired every night that we went to bed by 7:30-8pm. Unfortunately, for Uncle Tim, he had some bad food at breakfast (before the hike) and he got sick, but we didn’t hear him losing it. Good thing!
The second day we were up and going by 6am. This day would be our hardest and longest. It was mostly uphill. Before leaving the lower area there was a snack stand where we brought Gatorade. Started with us climbing to the highest point we would reach on the entire on the entire hike. This point is part of Dead Women’s Pass. We had to stop to catch our breath every 3 steps! Because we stopped so much we got the really enjoy the views. We got some good pictures. Haven discovered a new favorite candy called, Sublime, a local candy that was kinda like a Snickers. When we got to the top, Tim took a 20 minute nap, while we waited for everyone else to catch up. Ben and I (Haven) went to the hill on the top of the mountain and took multiple panorama pictures. It was all down hill from there to our camp for the night. There were very steep steps that were made of uneven rocks. Our legs were so sore. Near the end we were rewarded with viewing two different waterfalls. Since it was such a big hike; our base camp was were we lunch and dinner.
Our third day was the most secluded, at times you couldn’t see anything to do with humanity. The third day was a lot of up and down, up and down. We also saw the most archeological sites. We also saw a lake called black lake and after that we went up to a resting point. Our guide, Evert, did a special 3 coca leaf ceremony at the top of one of the mountains. The ceremony was to say thank you to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and the three sacred mountains around that area. From there we continued on to the camp for the night. We passed a lot of people because we wanted to be at the very last camp, closest to the entrance to the Sun Gate. For dinner that evening our chef made a cake! How he could make a cake with icing and everything was amazing to us. It was a really good cake!
Our final day was our earliest start – 4am!!! The hike was supposed to take 2 hours but our group did it in only 1 hour because we had a fast pace. So we had to wait for the checkpoint to open before we could enter the Sun Gate. The sunrise We were over Machu Picchu when the sunrise happened. It was beautiful. From there we had a 10 minute hike down the the entrance to meet up with our family.
The hike was hard but not as hard as we thought it would be – Ben and I would recommend doing it! Oh, and just so you all know I was always leading the pack to the top and beat everyone (except Ben one time).