Day #2 of the Inca Trail proved to be EXTREMELY difficult for me. My stomach was feeling awful (It wouldn’t stop complaining, that whining organ!), I didn’t really eat anything most of the day, which meant I had zero energy for the mostly uphill climb up the endless, ancient Incan steps.
Seriously, it was ALL uphill for 8 hours. The second most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. The sun would come out to say hello, but what it would really do is step on my back the entire time. I began to use my walking sticks as crutches.
One step at a time.
Soon, we divided into two groups. The “Slowies”, four determined and steady trekkers who would not let the fact that our entire group was about an hour ahead of us, shake our will to go on.
This is what our entire day looked like (you can see Jesus/Manson sitting there – see the bottom for more about him)
But at least we weren’t carrying the loads the porters were carrying.
I was soon made fun of for my walking stick technique. I looked very odd, like a crusty old hermit walking up to his shack in the mountains. Cantankarous. Haggard.
The apex of the entire climb was Dead Woman’s Pass, almost 14,000 feet in elevation!
This dead woman sure was a bitch!
By the time we finally got to the top, completely drained, everyone half-heartedly cheering for us, I could have cared less to pass over my camera for the group picture.
Screw them for being so fast.
Us Slowies were still proud we made it without our lungs collapsing or having to consume each other’s flesh for survival.
Didn’t the movie “Alive” take place in these very mountains??
Views from the top!
After reveling in our accomplishment (and our sweat) we began the long decent to our campsite.
That night, we enjoyed soup (Jesus, no more soup!) It was slightly humorous to see the completely filled bowls being passed back to the cleaning crew after supper.
I could no longer take pictures of my meals. One was just like the other. Bowls and plates filled with hot, garlicky slop. It was only sustenance. Everything tasted the same. The water even tasted garlicky.
Captain, however, was still in love with it and even ate others’ unfinished “grewl”.
Billy Goat Gruff became obsessed with learning the ancient skill of making Tea Bag T-Shirts.
It rained that night. And didn’t stop the next morning.
I dreaded getting out of our tent the following morning, regardless of how bad it smelled (we were called Stinky Town and scolded for ruining the property values of the surrounding tents).
It was miserable getting ready in the rain.
I put on my pathetic excuse for a poncho, coveting everyone else’s rain gear NOT purchased for .99 cents.
We walked to some rainy ruins. We didn’t really enjoy them due to the miserable weather but we did our best to try.
I wandered around a bit, as these were the coolest ruins we had seen to date, trying not to slip and break something important. I don’t care about the neck, but please God don’t let my knees give out.
Day #3 was mostly down hill. In the rain.
The Incan steps began to look like creek beds. It was quite challenging getting down them at times, but at other times it was kind of fun.
At times the steps were INTENSELY steep. You couldn’t really enjoy the view, you were just taking one large step down at a time.
Making sure not to slip and die.
I didn’t take any pictures of those blasted steps. Just so they would feel bad.
Below is my favorite picture of the entire trip.
It was at a point where I was by myself on the trail on a section that was somewhat flat. I felt very Indiana Jones as the terrain became more jungle-like.
I walked by this unused Incan stairway and pretended I had discovered a lost city.
I was very happy.
For about an hour.
We saw some more ruins….
On our way down to our final campsite, I saw one of the most incredible views I’ve ever seen.
I tried to take a better picture of it but there was this strange man on the trail, I let this girl go by me first so he would attack her instead.
Our campsite was located right next to this global community center rest stop where we grabbed a few beers (water for me) and watched our fellow Inca Trail hikers pour in with red faces and grubby shoes.
I walked barefoot with A.K. to the bathroom (I couldn’t even LOOK at those shoes for the remainder of the evening) and was given a lot of shit by my group for this. I couldn’t have cared less at that point what was on my feet. I was called Fecal Foot from then on.
There was a man we called Jesus or Manson who seemed to have a harem of dreaded, hippy girls in his wake. He was on the hike with us at random moments, always with different Manson girls.
I went to bed knowing we were 95% done with the Inca Trail.
Regardless, I slept like shit on my pebble mattress in my 23 threadcount rented sleeping bag.
Machu Picchu!! (about bloody time)