Shitting Ourselves a Little
In the morning we took the bus from Ollantaytambo to the 82KM marker. We were all a little nervous and excited for the next 4 days to come… with only a small bag with 2kgs worth of clothes and a lot of snacks. The roads were definitely not made for two large trucks after we spent 10 minutes trying to maneuver around the truck going in the opposite direction. We bought our last snacks at 82KM (including some firecrackers from the little kids) and headed off. After about 10 minutes of walking we did a ceremony with some coca leaves to ask the mountains for good luck.
Scenery, Amazing food & Squat Toilets
We were told that the first day of walking would be quite easy and it was well paced with plenty of stops along the way, including a few Inca sites. There was only one hard section which was apparently a taste of what was to come on Day 2.
We stopped around mid-day for our first camp lunch and it was amazing, possibly the best food we’d had in Peru. After getting rained on, we finally arrived at our camp for an awesome dinner. We were then given a bowl of warm water and attempted our first nights sleep in our 2 person tents.
The most horrific thing on day 1 was the discovery of the ‘squat’ toilets. All I can say is bring plenty of hand sanitiser and toilet paper with you.
The Pain that is… Day 2
We woke up incredibly early, like 5:30 and got ready for Day 2. After breakfast we headed off and completed the first leg in no time at all. We were allowed to walk at our own pace on day 2 so most of the group split off, Ricky was at the head of the group and I was somewhere ahead of the middle.
Porter Challenge – COMPLETE!
While completing the Inca Trail you can choose to do the Porter Challenge on Day 2, which is carrying one of the porters 25kg bag up the 2000m mountain side (length of around 7 km). After a quick rest (the rest of the group waited for an extra hour for some of the others) Ricky left with his porter. Incredibly painful, by the time he was at the top (arriving 30 mins before the first of our group), his legs had seized up straight and were cramping for about 15 minutes.
All the other groups cheered and the porters were quite friendly, always saying hi and good luck etc as well as other tour guides. Ricky’s porter was tiny and looked about 50 however he was only 36 – the mountain definitely takes a toll on you. It’s an amazing job they do, as that’s one of the most difficult things he’s done – and they do it 6 times a month (once or twice a week).
After most of the group caught up (1.5 hours after Ricky) we did the “Gringo Killer” i.e. 2000 steps down the other side of the mountain. For all the hype this was actually really easy and we completed in about 45 minutes. Arriving early to the campsite (the porters had barely beaten us), we washed off in the freezing cold stream and then proceeded to get nicely drunk on our last bit of rum (i.e. 3 bottles).