Thursday, June 26, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure Day 6 - Inca Trail Trek Day 2

Today was the hard day. We had camped closer to KM 82 than most groups, which gave us both the luxury of a quiet trail (no other trekkers or porters) AND the challenge of a longer day 2, mileage-wise. Short day 1 = loooong day 2.

getting ready to set out
porters having their breakfast before setting out
Two of the girls started early: Bobbi Jo and Debbie Dean. We didn't catch up to Bobbi Jo until just before lunch (when we mistakenly identified someone else's tents as ours…), and never actually spotted DD -- though we must have passed her at some point.

Before setting out we had a lesson on using coca leaves; we were all encouraged to take some with charcoal and then chew it vigorously for a couple of minutes. This was NOT pleasant... even though it was amusing to have tingling lips and tongue. We all chewed, grimaced, and then spat out the coca, before getting another clump for the road … but this clump we would just put between our cheek and gums and sorta suck on for the next 45 minutes or so. Not as icky.

coca leaves and charcoal
Cesar explaining how to use coca and charcoal
ma-ma-ma coca face, ma-ma coca face
Team Jenny setting out
The trail wound through scrub first; a few houses, a small cemetery, and not a lot of people. After couple of hours we arrived at a house selling some beverages, the cutest kittens in Peru, some Very Large Hummingbirds (Patagona gigas, the Giant Hummingbird), and some surprisingly nice toilets (1 sol well spent!).


are you SURE I can't take him home???
Giant Hummingbird photo courtesy
nomination for nicest toilet on the Inca Trail… and the family who run it are animal lovers, too!
I think the guides were trying to gather us together by creating "stop points" and meetings, but with so many people moving at some many paces, it was hard to do. A while later we reached a checkpoint and camps where many other groups stayed.





all this you will hike!!!

staying hydrated!


More trail … nice shady stretch, really.





Llamas always have right of way… I wasn't sure whether a llama would kick like a horse if you walked behind him, so I just tried to let him know I was there and then scoot behind him.


The trail got steeper just before lunch; we had just passed Bobbi Jo and called back "Bobbi Jo! The tents!" and then had to say "Ummmm, they're not OUR tents…sorry…"  But our tents weren't much farther along.

We got to the lunch spot when about 10 people were already there. Some of the early arrivals were frustrated that they had to wait for lunch, but we couldn't really understand why they were in such a hurry? Lunch was served about 20 minutes after we arrived. Still, if we were dedicated to trying to go as fast as possible, I guess I could understand. But our focus was to see things, experience the trail, and take plenty of photos.

not our tents :(
our tents!!!

folded napkins in the dining tent. really.

getting ready for lunch
Lunch was good -- again -- even if I kept fretting that our porters were folding napkins in pretty patterns!

After lunch we moved on, essentially straight up Dead Woman's Pass. The trail was pretty nicely maintained -- no chance of getting lost. Not too steep, either… though it was always interesting to climb for a little bit, then stop and turn around to see just how far you had climbed so quickly.

porters putting us tho shame (while carrying WAY MORE WEIGHT)



nearly at Dead Woman's Pass


false summit???

We had been told that there was a false summit, so I kept thinking "we're not there yet". We could climb a bit, stop and breathe for a bit, and repeat. Then, suddenly, we were there at the pass, with Victor and Jenni and John and Dawn right behind us. We took "bowl of fruit" photos and "dead woman" photos, witnessed John and Dawn's award-winning "motorcycle" photo, and just enjoyed the moment.

"no, really, this is the top of the pass?? here???"

double bowl of fruit!!!

dead woman pose!
cairns at the top -- we added our rocks to these

That said, clouds were gathering, and we didn't want to get caught on the ridge in stormy weather, so we didn't linger. We watched porters race each other down the pass -- which was really humbling.

porters running down the trail
Team Wil-Sun getting ready to head down

and down….

the pass is now clouded over -- we made it just in time

We started down… down… down. Amusing side note: there was a toilet just off the trail, so Wil headed over. A woman was sitting outside the building, one men's and one women's toilet. Wil asked her, "Are you waiting?" She said no, so Wil opened the men's door to a SHRIEK from the woman squatting inside. Two things here. 1. Lock the damn door. 2. Tell your girlfriend not to encourage others to use the toilet you're using.

steeeeeep downhill


Lots of steep downhill today -- funny that today was the hard day; I don't really think it was as hard as some days on the Carros de Foc trek.



Arrived in camp relatively early; much more crowded than night #1 because other campers were nearby. Got settled in our tent, discovered that my Ex Officio shorts had split in the crotch, so I was flashing my panties at everyone. (Thanks, Ex Officio!) But Wil asked around, and lovely Ken had a sewing kit, so my dignity and modesty could be restored.




A bit of a tense evening. Two other girls, Carol and Kathy -- got sick and had to come down in the dark. It felt like that second day on the CdF when we were standing outside the refuge staring up at the mountain hoping to see glimpses of the relative strangers who hadn't made it in yet. Bobbi Jo and DD were struggling, K & C were very ill… We were super worried about Carol especially -- she got to her tent and just slept. But when each trekker came in, our group went out and clapped.

Snack of popcorn and biscuits (good heavens, how good is popcorn???), then another surprisingly nice dinner with chocolate pudding for dessert. (Yumsk!)



Other groups were camped right next to us, full of young folks -- shrieking at each other. Sue used her very posh accent to shut them up; "Would you mind being considerate of others who are trying to sleep!" Instant silence! As Annie said the next day, it was as if Mary Poppins had scolded them!

home sweet home (night 2)


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