Friday 8 January 2010
Highlights: The Inca Trail landscape, Warmiwanusca (aka Dead Woman’s Pass), Paqaymayo
Inca Trail Day 2
A very tough day for the Inca Trail Hike; at least from a cardio perspective. We got up around 6 am and our ever helpful porters provided a wake up drink of coca which I declined as my system was shutdown. Now not having this drink was probably a bad thing as the coca helps you breathe at this altitude.
The mission today was to get up Warmiwanusca aka Dead Woman’s Pass which stands at 4,230 metres above sea level. This is a real killer, the path just kept going up and up with huge stone steps most of the way. Luckily for me Kate and I got near this end around the same time and we helped motivate each other to get there. Kate was amazing especially since she isn’t 100% – James also pushed us for a little while but he had more energy than us and eventually left us behind.
Near the top there is a fake top we had been warned about this but it is still heartbreaking to think you are at the top and round a corner and realise there is even more to go. About 200 metres away we heard Andrew and Gareth cheering Kate and myself to get to the top. Normally the embarrassment would help you move faster but not when you have nearly nothing left. I basically pulled myself up with my walking sticks.
When we got to the top we basically fell down and patiently waited for the rest of the group. First Kelly got the cheering in her thongs (Kelly couldn’t use her shoes due to first day blisters), followed by Indu and finally Emma, Shrina and the backup guide Miguel. I remember looking down at the clouds with contempt, I was better than those clouds!
Now the problem at this point is we still had a long way to go with about 2 hours more hiking, mostly downhill but some uphill. Either way we all managed to get to our campsite at Paqaymayo. This was at the base of another huge climb so tomorrow which is the longest hiking distance day won’t be easy.
Again we were fortunate with the weather, there was only a short light rain. Just before this hike become there have been very heavily rain and you could still see a lot of ground water so we didn’t want in more rain or to make the hiking more slippery and therefore risky.