Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure "race report"

It's hard to believe that it's been two weeks since we got back from our Inca Trail Marathon Adventure -- it seems both forever ago, and like we've only just gotten home.

We felt as if we had 4 vacations in one -- spending time in and around Cusco, four days trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a few days in the Amazon rain forest, and an extended city break in Lima. Somehow, we managed to do this with one suitcase each. (Ha!)

Wil and I aren't all that keen on "group activities". We don't run with a running group, and we rarely do large group things at home. But this was great -- a fun group of runners, Coach Jenny Hadfield cheering us an every step of the way, and Erik and Myra making everything work. I can't say enough good things about it, should anyone come across this blog while debating a future trip.

The Inca Trail was hard -- but in a way, it was hard because of all the repeated days of travel. And, of course, the altitude. But reasonably fit adults can do it with little trouble. If I could change two things, I would just bring along a small scrubby washcloth and a half-length Thermarest. I wouldn't change anything else!

As usual, I wrote too much and we took too many pictures. But should you wish to learn more about the Inca Trail Marathon Adventure, here are links to the individual days:

Day 0 we spent a Long Time in Houston and traveled to Lima

Day 1 we traveled to Cusco and met the gang

Day 2 we explored Pisac -- the ruins, a trail hike, and a great big market

Day 3 was a free day, so we explored Qorikancha and the San Blas neighborhood

Day 4 we celebrated Inti Raymi with all of Cusco

Day 5 we visited the ruins at Ollantaytambo and started our Inca Trail Trek

Day 6 we continued along the Inca Trail, crossing Dead Woman's Pass

Day 7 was the long day, distance wise, along the Inca Trail

Day 8 we arrived at Machu Picchu!

Day 9 we traveled from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco

Day 10 we traveled to Refugio Amazonas via Puerto Maldonado and a nice long ride upriver

Day 11 we climbed to the top of the canopy, fed piranhas, and went inside a Strangler Fig

Day 12 we trekked to a clay lick to see macaws (because of their claws? no, because they're macaws)

Day 13 we left the rainforest behind and arrived in Lima, where we met lots of cats

Day 14 we explored Lima and its beautiful cathedral… and drank the best Pisco Sours in the world

Day 15 we visited Barranco, watched a parade, and said farewell to Lima… and made our way home

We want to send out HUGE THANKS to our fellow travelers for making this trip so memorable, as well as our friend Coach Jenny Hadfield for putting the trip together… and making us laugh and laugh and laugh. Finally, thanks to Erik and Myra from Erik's Adventures for arranging every detail and continuing to smile while herding cats for 2 weeks.

Finally, a couple of stories I managed to forget in the giant set of blog posts -- I'm sure I'll come up with a few more...

- at one point I gave Jenny a coca candy.
Jenny: "These are so great, I wish we could get these at home."
Wil: "Oh, but you can… it comes in a more concentrated, POWDERED form…"
Jenny: "Really? Wow!"
Wil: "Umm, yeah. You're in Chicago, right? Probably on a lot of street corners…"

- one night someone came in with her pocket stuck to her thigh. Seems she had decided to unwrap the fiddly little coca candies (which were indeed a pain to unwrap) in advance, and put them in her pocket. But the humidity and her sweat hat melted them into a sticky mess. It occurred to me that she had actually created a coca "patch" and was ingesting it transdermally. She laughed and said, "Well, I did feel pretty good today!"

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