Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

For those of you who don't know, tomorrow we set off for a 4 day hike through the Andes on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It was one of the first things we decided to do when we were talking about doing this trip, and while we're still excited to do it, the butterflies have set in in the last few days.

We've both hiked 14,000 feet peaks, and I've run three marathons and a 15.5 mile race up the side of a mountain to over 13,000 feet and back.  On paper, we have the street (or mountain) cred. But we've been lolling around cars and boats and airports for the last 10 weeks. The altitude was a challenge when we got to Cusco (we're at 11,200 feet here). So yeah, we are nervous as hell.  One of us has not run a marathon, and has a not completely diagnosed knee injury, so yeah.  Nervous.

But they told us, at our briefing on Monday, that all we needed to bring was our passport and a positive attitude. Both are packed, although we're still wrestling with the second one to get it in our bags.

Here is what we'll be carrying on our backs. Both packs weigh between 10-15 (that's a guess) pounds, which includes two water bottles for David and three for Lana (my bag weighs less otherwise).  We've hired a porter to carry our sleeping bags and bedrolls, which we rented from PeruTreks, the company we're hiking with. The porter will also be carrying things that we won't need from day to day, including toiletries and a couple of changes of clothes. Otherwise it's all coming along with us. On advice of other travelers we've met we rented trekking poles once we got here (alas, there are three sets cooling their heels at home), and upon advice of PeruTreks itself, I rented a pair of waterproof hiking shoes rather than wear my trail running shoes, which will get wet. That last one is not ideal, but we're going with blisters over wet feet. 

We each have rain pants, rain jackets, and rain covers for our bags. Gloves, sun hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, bug repellent, snacks, necessities for going in the woods, if necessary, hand sanitizer, medications and first aid stuff, our Samsung androids, a battery charging pack, headlamps, money for tips and water/snacks bought along the way, our PASSPORTS, and our entry tickets for our second day.

Lana is carrying Mr. Bee, our Steripen for sterilizing water if necessary, the larger share of the medications including her epipen, benadryl and a course of steroids that we really don't want to use.

David's carrying the big camera (might as well get the best shot of Machu Picchu that you can), zip ties and gaffer's tape for repairs, his headlamp (mine is with the porter).

Our bigger bags and all of the things we don't need will be stored at the hostel we're staying with, and we'll come back and stay here another night after returning from Machu Picchu.  All the hotels seem to offer that service, which is great. 

The trip so far hasn't been physically challenging--we've kick-flipped through the waters of the Galapagos and lugged our heavy big bags across the Miami airport, but other than that we've been pretty sedentary. We'll get our chance now, though.  

We've brought our android players, and we will have wifi in our hostel at the end of the trek, so we'll see you on the flip side. Wish us luck!