Inca Trail: Day One
As usual it was another early morning. The anxiety level was like an adrenaline rush that woke me way before the alarm.
Our guide told us that only the privileged, in the day of the Inca were permitted on the trail, and that we too were privileged. We were in an elite group of hikers permitted to take the pilgrimage that was a spiritual path in its day.
We were all allowed only 6kg (13lbs) per person for our porter to carry. This was to include clothing, gear and bedding. All we really wanted to carry ourselves, was the bare necessities of water, rain gear, snacks and a warm shirt in case the weather changed.
The porters were all about 4-4.5′ tall, stocky build, jet black hair and all donning the GAdventures purple shirts. Each was allowed to carry “only” 20kg (44lbs) which seemed like as much as some of them weighed. The older porters had rounded backs from years of “running up and down” the trail. Their shoes were mostly worn out tennis shoes, open toe sandals or even a few in flip flops. They all had great attitudes and smiled huge toothy grins as they chewed their coca leaves and readied themselves.
The day was beautiful. We stood in line at the gate to get our permits and stamp in our passports for the Camino de Inca. We all paused at the starting line, like a group of marathoners about to start a 27 mile, 4 day trek. My stomach and mind were waging war against my will as we started out. No matter how warm the breezes were… how beautiful the scenery, I still couldn’t get my whole being to get on board. I hiked on anyway.
Today was only going to be 7 miles of relatively easy hiking. The elevation gain of 500 meters or 1500 feet. We were all enjoying the scenery on the trail and thought, “OK this is not so bad”, until the last 2 miles the trail showed us what she was really made of. Quite frankly, this day of hiking was the hardest thing I had ever done, and we were just getting started.
We all arrived in camp and claimed our tents and duffles and lied down exhausted. At dinner that night, the next day was laid out for us, including a 4:30am wake up. Of course we all knew what lay ahead, Dead Woman’s Pass.
Massive Undertaking: The Inka Trail Day One