We did it!
And that’s the main thing. At the end of day one, due to our tour guide giving us “an extra hour” of hiking, Tul was struggling and neither of us were sure if we’d be able to carry on the next day.
In the morning though, once we were above the forest and dead woman’s pass (the highest point of the trail) was in sight, it was obvious we were both going to manage the entire trek and I’m really proud of her for persevering with it because I could see how difficult she was finding it (she wouldn’t even let me carry her day pack).
Day 3 was incredible and we could both see the hard work paid off. The Brown Andes turned into the Green Andes and most of the day was spent in the high Amazon jungle walking a path of about a metre wide often with a shear cliff face on one side. It was also the first day that the whole group managed to keep together. I also developed a taste for coca leaves which was keeping my energy levels up.
We were lucky to have a great group of people. 1 other couple (Andy and Naomi), 2 lads from New York (Simon and Kendi) and 2 girls from Canada (Erin and Michelle, who were hilarious and left us a note and some goodies for us in Aguas Calientes).
In the evenings we played the card game ‘shithead’, but when our guide played with us he insisted on calling it ‘Chilean head’ (very PC).
Day 4 was a short 5k hike up to the Sun Gate where we saw Machu Picchu for the first time which was awesome. When we arrived in Machu Picchu we had a 2 hour tour which after everything else was actually quite tiring, but it was amazing just to be there.
Day 5, Tul was my wingman for Huanya Picchu, the small mountain overlooking Machu Picchu. She negotiated our bus tickets in Spanish, made sure I was at the foot of the mountain in time for my ticketed time slot and was there to meet me when I’d finished. If she’d have been with me she could have made sure I didn’t take a wrong turn at the first junction on the mountain but I don’t suppose I can blame her for that. I did it in good time, climbing it in 35mins and coming down in less than 20.
We were sorry to leave Machu Picchu but both felt good coming back into Cuzco as I think we both now have a soft spot for it. The heavy Peruvian food is starting to get a bit much now though.
The Inca trail was everything I hoped for and I’m really glad we both made it. However, I think Tul might use the fact that we successfully completed it as a reason to celebrate for the next week…
The company we booked through is www.sastravelperu.com and is not the cheapest around but would recommend them for the Inca trail and/or the Amazon expedition in Corto Maltes lodges.