When I Grow Old… I Shall Wear Purple

The older I get the more I find I revert back to different time lines in my life.  Some of my life was all tie-dyed and hippy… other has been wild child adventure traveler… and now I am entering my hippy wild child adventurer older chika… gotta relax and settle in a healthy lifestyle.  Just the release of stress from home and business owner is going to be a huge weight off the health meter.

When I Am An Old Woman… I shall Wear Purple was a favorite book of mine. Having never been one to live, dress or act “in the box” my subtle idiosyncrasies will no longer be stifled. I will be free to be me. To act my age … or not.  To see the world through rose colored glasses or wide eyed and bushy tailed. I will not heed when someone says you shouldn’t or can’t do that.

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From years and years of travel, I don’t consider myself a novice. I am much older and wiser than when I first started following The Grateful Dead, backpacking Europe or flitting up and down the east coast and then west my child… I have been to more countries than not in Central and South Americas.  I love the exploration and wealth of knowledge in a culture I don’t know but enjoy immersing myself in. There’s a whole lot more outside my box!

So when I am old… I shall wear purple… just because I want to and I can.

WALL-E… Our Future?

This has been another week that has made me embarrassed to be a United States citizen. It’s all over the news how our new commander and chief acts like a stupid child when he doesn’t get his way. From here on out I am Canadian if anyone asks.

It is beyond me how a group of elected officials can’t do what’s “right” for their constituents. I do realize there are many facets to this issue. I do understand that no matter what happens someone is not going to be justly served. It is difficult to put everyone into one box and find a health plan that fits all needs. What I don’t understand is how some countries can do it and have excellent healthcare. I have experienced this care myself while traveling as a tourist and gotten hurt.

A major contributing factor to us moving out of the US… as we move into the next phase of our lives… is a direct result of our broken healthcare system/government. There will be no way for the two of us to retire here and afford healthcare… or protect our accumulated nest egg. As a result we have chosen to leave everything behind. Cash out and travel. I have serious concerns that some or most of money we have paid into the Federal government for our “retirement” will be sucked up by said government.

Another issue is the lack of concern for our global wellness. Our symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth hangs in the balance. There are SO many documented symptoms to the ever changing climate of the earth. So many that it can no longer be ignored! Yet again our commander and chief has the audacity to look these in the face and still choose to ignore them stating it’s all “fake news”.

This is not something we can run away from… no matter where we travel to. This is a global problem and all nations must participate or it will be like lighting a bonfire in the middle of a dry field of grass… without serious intervention and planning, eventually everything will be consumed. The world will be plunged further and further into catastrophic disasters that will always be linked back to our lack of caring.

I am deeply saddened and feel utterly helpless. What kind of world do our elders want to leave for their children? Just because it won’t effect the earth in their lifetime… doesn’t make it a non-issue. We can’t wait for them to die off or be removed from “power positions”. We must somehow convince them the symptoms such as melting glaciers, rising ocean levels, catastrophic storms and droughts are a direct result of our choices to continue to rely on fossil fuels, forcing poison into the earth to make her yield minerals and fuels. The next generation will be handed a broken and poisoned world to try to repair so their children will have a beautiful planet to explore and enjoy. The Earth and the human race depend deeply on each other. Heavy sigh… WALL-E here we come…

 

 

Daily Rant

Inka Trail… In Review

A Final Note: The Things You Need to Know But Probably Don’t Want To

  • Whenever you travel in another country you must be prepared for the differences in culture and available creature comforts. Not just the trail, but the majority of the small towns and villages we visited had items not too pleasant for the pampered Gringo traveler.
  • Of course drinking water from the tap is always a no no.
  • TP in the toilets, also a no no.
  • Running water in sinks to wash your hands, optional.
  • Toilet seats, optional. TP, optional.
  • This hike was challenging to say the least. The facilities on the trail were unpleasant but it is amazing that in the middle of nowhere there can be flush toilets and running water at all. Amazing ingenuity.
  • Each camp had a few areas of sorta flat pads for the tents. The tents themselves were mostly waterproof.
  • The altitude will kick your ass no matter how tough you think you are, or how hard you trained.
  • The toilets were keyhole squat type that were the most disgusting things you can imagine. Getting up and down from a freestanding squat on wobbly trail legs and bad knees was a feat in itself.
  • Personal hygiene is high priority or you will find yourselves getting something you totally don’t want on a skinny trail in the middle of nowhere.
  • The only exit off the trail IS the trail.

The Camino Inka was both rewarding and absolutely took every ounce of every fiber of my being to succeed. I knew when we set out to do this hike it would be challenging, but I really had no idea what I was in for. There were times when you just would give up because it was just too damn hard and you had nothing left. There were times of triumph when after you gave up… something inside pushed you onto the next goal, even if that goal was just 5 more steps… the next bush or landmark. Bottom line… you only have two choices from the moment you set foot on the trail… move forward, no matter how hard it was…or turn back and face the same path as continuing forward… only on your own. Either way it was going to be hard as hell so suck it up sissy!

Would I do it again… at my age… HELL NO! I accept now my body is not it’s 20 year old self… but I had to try. What I saw can’t really be captured in pictures. What I went through can’t really be put into words. Let’s just say if you ask me about seeing Machu Picchu, if that’s really what you want to do…take the damn train.

 

Daily Word Prompt: Acceptance

Inka Trail : Day Four… The Final Goal and Trophy

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After an early night the whole group was ready for the final push the next day. We called ourselves YOHO, You Only Hike Once. Most of us agreed this was a ONCE in a life time achievement and at this point all we wanted was to arrive at the Sun Gate, Intipunku, and ultimately an hour or so later set foot on the sacred city of Machu Picchu ( proper pronunciation “Machu Pict chu” the other way gringos say it means “big penis”… that explains why the porters would all laugh as we discussed the final push.

We had to get up at 3am and be packed and out of our tents by 4am so the porters could break camp and hike down to the train that would stop at 5am SHARP to pick them up… miss the train and it’s a twenty mile hike back into town. We were on our own today. No porters passing us up.

There was no breakfast except dry bread and jam, hot water for coca tea and that was it. We were given the last briefing and gathered outside for our last “let’s do this”! cheer.

A five minute hike and over an hour wait in a long line of eager hikers. The gates to the last part of the trek opened a 5:30am. We had to present our permits and then were allowed to proceed onto the last 2.5 miles of the hike.

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This part of the trail has been regulated due to the amount of deaths that have occurred on this, the last push to Mach Picchu. In the past companies have left before sunrise and in the pitch black walked right off the narrow trail. Even in the light of day this was a tricky path. Four to five feet wide and 200 foot drop off on the side.

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After about a two hour hike up and down we came to the “Monkey Stairs”. A set of stairs that looked more like a wall rather than a stair case. You literally had to climb on all fours or fall over backwards and break your little cabeza. It was about 50 feet tall and composed of uneven rock steps at about a 75 degree incline. At this point the lack of food, tired legs, and lack of sleep really began to pay its toll. It was quite humorous to watch us all climb.

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The view from the top of the Monkey Stairs was almost 180 degrees of stunning jungle choked mountains and the last remaining morning mist clinging to the lower trees. The sun was just coming over the peaks of the mountains in the east revealing the lush greenery and the path ahead still clinging to the steep cliff sides.

In about 20 minutes we reached The Sun Gate. The Sun Gate was used to tell the exact day of the summer Equinox. The sun would rise and shine threw these stone pillars onto a certain wall on the Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu. I found a secluded stone on the edge of this site a released the remaining ashes and Faye will forever be looking down on Machu Picchu and the stunning surrounding mountains.

After photos we set out for the final push to the city of Machu Picchu itself. There were two more stops on the way down to the city perfect for photo ops and closer views of the city from above. Ten more minutes and we finally set foot into the city proper.

Mission accomplished…

Daily Word Prompt : Conquer

Inka Trail Day Three: The Gringo Killer

Unfortunately the older members of our group, Chris and I included, had to wake up an hour before the rest to hit the trail. This was a 10.8 mile hike which started with another two hour hike straight up.

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It had rained all night and continued into the morning with only a slight break that allowed us to get a drier start. As with the day before this pass was at over 12,000 feet and done at 5:30am with little to no breakfast, my altitude sick stomach, and cement legs. We arrived at the top, a 1500 foot gain, in just under the two hours allotted.

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I was the first to summit and therefore the first to begin the ascent down the other side. This day was different. We started out before any of the porters so we had the trail to ourselves, the four of us the only ones on the trail for two hours. Soon I was passed by the first, second, tenth and and more porters… one finally stopped and told me I was the first gringo on this part of the mountain. I smiled.

The rain was relentless. It was steady and the mountain engulfed in clouds and mist. Every plant was saturated, the stone path wet and glistening. I watched each porter as they danced across the rocks to see which were safe to step on and which to avoid. A fall could mean a broken ankle, leg or even tailbone. Ouch.

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I made it to the bottom of the mountain in good time, this was called the Gringo Killer. I came upon a ruin that I thought was a break area, waited over a half hour before the younger members of our group, and finally Alejandro showed up. I was sopping wet and beginning to feel a chill. No break here I was told, not for another twenty minutes.

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Hiking the trail this day in the cloud forest high above the valley below was like hiking in an unfinished painting. The left side was brilliant greens speckled with fauna, the stone path in the middle and the right was trees and vines, to the far right was a blank white space, devoid of any color, shadow or shape. You could hear the birds and river running deep below but the sound came out of a void in space.

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By lunch, almost 1pm, the relentless rain had stopped. We were all soaked through to the bone. We arrived and the porters were all moving around feverishly to assure we could warm up, dry out and get a well deserved meal. I of course was still feeling the nausea of early mornings and lack of a good night sleep and probably a bit of altitude sickness… so no food for me. The porters made us a cake that took a whole day to cook on the trail. It read “Congratulations YOHO!” It was so special to know that each of them was pulling for us.

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After lunch the clouds parted and by the time we reached our next break, Winayaywayna, another step filled ruin. The view revealed where we had been hiking all day in the stark nothingness. Another history lesson, picture session, and off to our last night camp. P.S., this was a 13 hour hike for Chris and I, but it was by far the easiest day!