Saturday 9 January 2010
Highlights: The Inca Trail landscape, Runnkuraqay Pass, Sayacmarca site, Phuyupatamarca site, Winaywayna, Birthday cake
Inca Trail Day 3
Another 6 am wakeup call saw the start to my birthday hiking the Inca Trail. Yesterday had been a cardio workout but we all knew today would be hard on the knees and the longest day at 16 kms hiking. No pancakes today unfortunately to start but still a good breakfast. I found I as now slowly eating all of the meals provided so my system was restarting.
We started it a 1.5 hour hike up to Runnkuraqay Pass (around 3,600 meters) which was tough to begin with, the views as usual made the effort worthwhile. After another 1.5 hours mostly downhill we explored Sayacmarca site and again Nancy explained a lot about the Inca people and their beliefs and how they took a lot of the beliefs of the people they defeated.
At lunch the weather started to turn for the worst but we set out for the Phuyupatamarca site with hope but unfortunately it started really raining for the first time during one of our hike (we have a drizzle yesterday). The ponchos all come out but the rain was very strong and my lower pants got very wet.
As a result of the hard rain we didn’t stop at Phuyupatamarca but instead went to Winaywayna – our campsite. During the 3 hour hike my knees started to go and I was forced to go very slow. I had a key partner in Kelly who had to do this in her flip flops, Kelly was amazing once again. Brooke joined us for most of the afternoon. I managed to only fall once but luckily no injuries. I’ll remember the last 30 minutes of pain for some time to come. This campsite had a basic restaurant / bar, which is exactly where I found Karen, Kate and Gareth with about 16 empty beer bottles.
Both Andrew and Karen bought me a few beers to celebrate my birthday. Later in the evening somehow the cooks had made me a cake and due to Andrew’s organisation we had a great party. After giving a tip to the porters, cooks and guides in a thank you ceremony most of us headed back to our tents as we had a 4 am start tomorrow to get up to the Sungate before the sun, but Andrew headed straight back to the bar, we’ll see how that effects him tomorrow 🙂