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Inca Trail: Day One

We woke at 5am in Cuzco and were picked up in a bus by our tour company (Peru Treks).   As soon as we were out of town the Andes started to show in the distance, the largest peaks I have seen in my life– sharp and snow covered.  The bus took us, our two guides, and the 14 other trekkers in our group to Ollantaytambo, a quaint Quechua town where we ate breakfast and bought our final supplies.  After breakfast we rode for another 30 minutes to the start of the Inca Trail where they checked our passports and completed other final paperwork.  It seemed to us that it was harder to get onto the Inca Trail than to enter Perú.  We were both nervous having only spent two days acclimatizing, but once we started hiking we found the pace comfortable and our fears quickly diminished.   During the first section before lunch we passed several ruins and our guides, Percy and Juan, explained about the sites and the Inca culture.

The trail was well maintained and we found the day flying by.  In the early afternoon we stopped in a beautiful clearing and a tent was set up for us to dine in.  It was amazing how much stuff the the porters (called “chaskis” in Quechua) brought up the trail–40 pounds each.  Most trekkers in our group had hired their own personal chaski ($40 extra) to carry their sleeping bags and other gear, and only carried small day packs themselves.  Being poor however, we carried everything required ourselves in our big backpacks.  Lunch was amazing: avocado and cheese appetizer, potato soup, and then trout for the main.   Everyone was very impressed and we stuffed our faces.  After lunch we took about 30 minutes to let it digest and drank some tea.  I even took a quick nap in the grass.

Following lunch we hiked for another few hours and it started sprinkling a little bit.  It was amazing how fast the weather changed on the trail.  One minute it was sunny and hot, the next cold and on the brink of snow.  We had brought jackets and ponchos and our cameras were in dry sacks, so the light mist didn’t bother us but was actually refreshing.  We passed above another large Inca ruin and eventually came to our campsite where we would eat dinner and spend the night.  Dinner was again very good and we went to bed with full stomachs, feeling pretty good about how things had gone so far.  It got COLD as soon as the sun went down but our tent was warm and sleeping bags comfy.  We slept great on our sleeping pads on top of the soft grass.  The first day was definitely a confidence-booster, but we were still apprehensive because the guides kept reminding us that Day One was “Warm-Up Day” and Day Two was “Challenge Day!”

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About Zach

Zach seeks to live a simpler life without the extravagance of American culture. Buy fewer things, need less money, work less, play more.

Posted on January 10, 2012, in Adventures, Hiking, Peru, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. That clearing looks larger than life!

  2. Did you take the railroad? Wonderful, beautiful! Mosquitoes?

  3. Mmmm. That looks delicious! What about health concerns for nubis that are not used to that food ? I imagine you guys are doing good since you have been there for a while. Do you see alot of problems with the travelers sickness in other people?.
    Keep enjoying the ride of your lives!! And thank you for sharing. Im loving it as i read.

    • A lot of travelers (especially those who haven’t been here long) do get the travelers sickness once in awhile. You can never really know what it’s from, but it’s usually probably from food! I would just recommend the normal precautions for the TIYO kids–avoid street food, market food, unpeeled fruits and veggies, etc. It kinda sucks because some of the cheaper/riskier food is the best, but you don’t wanna risk getting sick on such a short trip!

  4. Confuse! Peel or un-peeal?

    • If you want to be careful about produce in a developing country the rule is “Cook it, peel it, or forget it!” You shouldn’t eat anything raw that you didn’t peel the skin off. Ex. Bananas and avocados are usually fine because any pesticides or germs are removed when you peel them. Strawberries or apples with the skin on are not because you don’t peel them. Get it?

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