Our Inca Trail Adventure - Part Three
I had been warned that day two would test my mettle. For the conventional 4 day classic Inca Trail day 2 consisted of hiking the highest peak, Dead Woman's pass, and also going to an altitude of 4,250 metres. Most companies do this ascent, taking approximately 4 hours, and then the descent, taking around 2 hours, and call it a day. However, like I said in Part One Llama Path has a slightly different itinerary. Not only were we to conquer Dead Woman's pass, we also had to complete the 2nd pass, 2 hours up and 1.5 down, on the same day. The second ascent though shorter was much steeper without any relief and went to an altitude of 4,000 metres. Not to be considered any easier than Dead Womans. Though it was the most challenging day it was also the most rewarding. We began with a wakeup call at 520am. I had been awake since 420am, the time the porters began organising the day. Wake up consisted of a friendly ‘Ola, Buenas Diaz’ and a hot cup of coca leaf tea. We were given a bowl of warm water to quickly wash with and then it was off to the dining tent for a bit of nosh. Breakfast was corn cakes, for me, a porridge type drink, and condiments. More than enough to satiate our hungry bodies. A little after 6 we set off. It was not long before the steps began. The morning was broken down into 3 segments, 2 lots of 2 hour inclines, then the descent, after which would come lunch. The first 2 hours was manageable due to morning energy, then the second 2 hours followed a little more slowly though we were spurred on by the excitement of conquering the highest peak of the hike. At the top we.rested for 10 minutes and took photographs, elated with our awesomeness.
The descent from Dead Woman's was unrelenting, incredibly steep and uneven 2 poles was absolutely necessary for me. Finally, at the bottom it was time for lunch. We were all depleted of energy and we all knew that we would need to dig deep to finish off the day. Our lunch spot was the regular camping spot for most other groups. At the time I was tired and wondered where I would get the energy to carry on, but looking back I am so glad day 2 was hell as it gave us infinitely easier subsequent days. Most of us were falling asleep at the table and found it hard to consume much food. We took off for the last push, and I have to say, the second pass was much harder than the first. There was no end to the steps and with lacking energy I dug deep to get to the top. The second descent though was much easier. On the way down to the campsite there was an optional Inca Ruin, Chaquicocha, it was located up a steep staircase. Exhausted I thought about missing to reach the campsite earlier but I was here for the full experience so I powered up those steps and explored in the rain and mist, covered with sweat and perhaps not smelling my absolute best.
Finally reaching camp around 5pm I clambered into the dining tent for a trusty milo before dinner. Dinner was delicious, my body didn't want to comply and I had to force something down before I collapsed into my tent. This time I was sure I would be able to sleep through anything and I did. In the next blog, Part Three of the Inca Trail Adventure, we will see if I managed to summon the energy to persist or just sit on the mountain and cry.