Today was meant to be the hardest day. Although we would walk a fairly short distance overall compared to the other days, the majority of it would be steps – definitely not for the faint hearted!
We were woken up by the porters and when we unzipped the door they were there holding a bowl of warm water for us to wash our faces and a cup of hot coca tea!! Talk about customer service?! This is probably the best I’ve ever received! The porters are so sweet. After a large breakfast we set off. The first few hours it was literally just uphill and more uphill all via steps. The sizes of the steps were mixed. Some were small whereas some were so big that I struggled a little. Its hard to imagine how these small Incans who probably averaged around 5ft could walk this passage, let alone build it!
Eventually we reached the top of the Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the trail. When we got to the top, Freddy took out group to the side and made us climb an extra few rocks and explained to us how the Incans worshipped the mountains. He then pulled out of his bag a litre bottle of rum! He explained that he wanted to make an offering to the mountains and that we all had to take a shot of rum one by one. No complaints from anyone!!
Our group at Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the Inca Trail
After a little rest, we then started heading downhill. There were over a thousand steps downhill and by the end of it, you could feel the impact it made on your knees. I was grateful that John had given me one of his walking sticks as some of the steps were so steep. At one point, I was holding up a porter who was behind me. When I let him pass, he just leapt from step to step, practically running down it. Maybe that’s the way to go, but knowing me, I’d probably fall over and just roll my way down.
We arrived at camp around 2pm and lunch was almost ready. Camp was also set up as this was it for the day. Short, but difficult. I’m impressed as to how well I’ve coped with this trail so far. I’ve never been the really active type and thought that I would be the “slow” one in the group but I’m actually one of the quicker ones. Maybe I’m actually fitter than I though, but I’m still sweating like a pig at the end of the day.
After another nourishing and large lunch, we all decided to take a nap in the afternoon. I noticed a lot of the other groups continued after lunch but I guess we’ll probably have a longer day tomorrow.
We were woken up by the porters for dinner in the evening. Its surprising how dark it gets so early. It also gets very cold but thank god we rented some decent feather down sleeping bags from Wayki. In the middle of dinner, I had a massive stomach cramp and had to run to the toilet….guess its a side effect of the altitude. It was straight to bed after dinner! I cannot wait for a shower!!!