Dave & Reece -Travel’s Travel Diary

Monday, 14 Aug 2006

Location: Inca Trail, Peru

MapThe morning started at 4.30am, the temp. hovering around 4C, there was no bus and no fellow travelers to be seen.
It was because we were an hour early; I had got the time wrong, jeez I hope this isnít an omen. So there we waited hopping on the spot thinking how warm the bed was only a few minutes before, what a great start to the trail.

On queue 5.30 am things started happening and all of sudden we were on our way, the bus was to take us to KM 82 that is 82 KM from Cuzco at a place called Ollantaytambo one of the great fortress towns of the Incaís. Situated at 2200m above sea level it is the starting point for the Inca Trail
Upon arriving at the town and were instantly set upon by marauding sales persons selling every last thing you could imagine for the trek with sun cream in one hand and a bag of coco leaves in the other, no gracias is not a word they understand, so we purchased our last precious desires and met for the obligatory photo shoot before heading off.

The trail itself is not long, only 33km but it does rise to over 4000 m on the second day which does put the lungs to the test.
So off we went on a seemingly innocuous amble along a river after having our passports checked at the trail start. The trail only allows 500 at once on the route and it is strictly enforced by zealous guards, checking every detail of your tickets and passports.

The first sight of some ruins comes with Uactapata a small site from the Inca times and is a reminder that this trail was not for leisure but actually the main road from the Inca town of Cuzco and the revered Machu Picchu

The fist campsite comes up at 5.00 pm with tents all arranged neatly by the porters it truly is a welcome sight.

The next morning begins at 6.00 am and 4 degrees Celsius Oh how I love life ??, breakfast was had and we were on our way for another gentle amble, it must be said though the walk is not just that it is a walk through the times gone past as the guide stops at relevant times to point out the Inca marvel of their buildings and culture, it does wonders to have the mind sidetracked onto the time gone past

The trail on the second day is the hardest moving up step by step to the 3 hour ascent to the pass of Warmiwanusa also known as ¨Dead Womanís Pass¨ at 4198 meters you feel like you know that woman intimately.
But of course what goes up must come down and there is a few knee jarring blows as you descend to the camp site

The second night sees us sleeping below yet another magnificent ruin of Sayacmarca and dreaming of anything but walking.

Next morning we are greeted with the thought that the worst is over and there really might be some enjoyment in this after all, as the thought of our goal of Machu Picchu is discussed among the group, we set off this morning moving into a more temperate climate and are shown a few delights of the Andes with Orchids and humming birds keeping us company along the way.

It is only a short 6 hour stroll today with the vegetation changing as we plummet down towards our final night

We arrive at our last camp only 6 kms from Machu Picchu and take in our last last ruin of Hunay Huayna which really is quite stunning with water still running through the aqueducts and an amazing display of terracing with preserved buildings.

Our last day sees another early morning 4.30 am to allow us to reach the sun gate before sun rise, and what a sight it is to behold with the magnificent citadel of the Andes laying before us.