October 27, 2005
I was barely able to sleep all night, mostly because I was sick, but also because I was excited to start my Inca Trail trek after a month of traveling around the country. 5:00 AM was way too early to get up, but it actually wasn't very difficult considering that I was barely asleep to begin with. For a while, I wished that I could postpone my trip until I got better, but it would have been impossible. I had to book two months in advance, and I had already paid the non-refundable fee to go on the trek.
I was the last one to get picked up by the bus for the three hour ride to a town where we could get breakfast. I kept zoning in and out of sleep the entire ride. I think everyone else did, too. When we got into the town, I bought some drugs for the trip and ate breakfast. Next, we continued to KM 82, the starting point of the Inca Trail.
Luckily for me, the first day of the trek was pretty easy. We stopped every ten minutes or so either to take a break, or so Edwin, our guide, could explain part of the trail. As soon as we began walking, I started to feel better. Maybe I just needed some sunny weather and drugs to get myself going.
The first thing I noticed about the trek was that the porters were like gods. They carried all of our camping gear, including tents, cookware, food, and gas for cooking. Additionally, most of our group hired a personal porter to carry their own stuff for them. Each porter had to carry around 50 pounds of equipment down the trail. The thing is, they had to have everything set up by the time we arrived, so they literally ran up the mountain. Every few minutes, someone would yell "Porter!" and we would all move to the side and watch in amazement as he ran past us. It's definitely not a job anyone can do.
After walking past many mountains along the Urubamba river, we stopped to have lunch. It was already prepared for us by the time we got there. The food was great and we all gave our chef a round of applause. I guess Andean Life (my tour company) does meals just as well as SAS. I may have been sick, but at least I still had an appetite.
After the filling lunch, we walked for a few more hours to our campsite. Once again, everything was already set up for us by the time we got there. Everyone picked out a tent and relaxed with the remaining few hours of daylight we had left.
I heard there was a soccer game going on nearby, so I decided to check it out. It turned out that a lot of the porters were already playing, and our guide suggested that we play against them. Some of the non-American members of our group were up to the challenge and joined in. Just like normal soccer, the players kicked the ball back and forth for thirty minutes without ever scoring a goal. Still, it somehow seemed slightly more exciting than watching it on TV.
Later we had tea time and another great dinner. It gets dark at around 6:00 all year here, and considering that we were camping, there wasn't much to do without any daylight. My cold started to come back again after the temperature dropped, so I went to bed early to prepare for the long day ahead of me.
The photo album for this entry is here.