Sunday, 31 October 2010

Inca Trail Day 3: Cloud Forest

Despite a 5 minute head start on the way down from Runkurakay pass the rest of our youthful group had soon overtaken Melissa and I on the trail and we caught up with them at the resting point at the base of the path up to Sayacmarca Inca ruin.

"Do you want to take a tour of the ruin?" Efraim asked as Melissa and I joined the group, "you have to climb a 100 steps."

Oh he had a sense of humor that Efraim!!

To be honest interesting as the Inca ruins are we'd seen more than our fair share on the 2 week trip and even though day 3 was much easier the last 2 days had taken their toll, so when Efraim gave us the option of a head start on the rest of the trail we grabbed it with both hands.

"We'll catch you up," said Efraim, but just in case he gave us the directions to the Phuyupatamarka campsite, where we were stopping for lunch.

From this point on we'd be hiking through cloud forest. This part of the hike was probably my favourite, but also the most anxiety inducing since it was the only part of the trail where I was extremely aware of being on the adge of a mountain and, well...heights are not my favourite. Not that you could see much since it cloudy, but the edge was evident about 3feet to my left. Ugh!!

Hmmm, steep slippery steps down into a dark hole. Inviting!!

Actually there wasn't much to be concerned about. No spider eating wasps or anything.

Moments like this where the edge wasn't concealed by foliage and there was little doubt I was on the side of the mountain scared the crap out of me.

Surprisingly for us - and them judging by their stunned looks when they walked in the dining tent - the others did not catch us up until we were at the campsite enjoying a cup of tea and waiting for lunch. I was certain that we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere as for the entire hike I was waiting to hear them behind us, but we were just speedier than usual I guess and arrived at the camp just after 11.30am.

Lunch was corn and vegetable soup followed by chicken stuffed with cheese and vegetables with fried rice and a Peruvian potato and corn dish.

The porters put mattresses out on a plastic sheet in case any of us wanted to lay down and rest, but it was chilly at that altitude (3650 meters; 11,975 feet) and most of us preferred the warmth of the lunch tent. "If I get down I'm not getting up again," said Roisin, "they'll be dragging me along the trail by my feet." Ha ha!!

It was downhill all the way after lunch, not Melissa's favourite. "I just want this day to be over," she kept saying, "I want to be in Cusco, drinking a Pisco Sour."

Miguel kept us company at a distance as we hiked in our usual spot behind the rest of the group. "My legs are shaking," said Melissa.

"Did you tell Miguel that?" I asked

"No, because then he'd have the porters come and carry me and that would be embarrassing."

"I don't know, you could pretend you're a queen and wave to your subjects." We giggled at the idea of that. It wasn't especially funny, but we were both so tired that the choice was to either laugh or cry.

Miguel mentioned something about the path turning to gravel in about 20-30minutes.

Gravel, hallelujah. The uneven stones we were walking on were really hard on my feet.

"I don't think he said gravel," said Melissa, "I think he said gradual."

Crap!! What I wouldn't have given to be walking on some nice soft gravel. It's bizarre how your priorities change on the trail.

On the way to camp we passed more farming terraces which we had the option to visit. "Side trip?" I asked Melissa.

"What? Are you serious?"

"No, of course not, I was being sarcastic."

"Good, because all I want to do is get to camp and have a beer."

"Beer more than a shower?" I asked in reference to the fact that Winay Wayna camp site would be the first opportunity we'd had to take a shower in the 3 days we'd been on the trail.

"Yes, beer first, shower second," said Melissa emphatically.

Finally, the campsite!!

This beer was probably the best one I've ever tasted. Machu Picchu tomorrow!!


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Amel said...

Brrrrrr...I'm also scared shit when I see edges of a hill or mountain and I can just fall down and die tragically if I slip on something...ouch...

Lovely flower and scenery pics, though...and you made me laugh again HE HE HE HE...THANK YOU for making me laugh! :-D

Amel said...

You should compile your trips in a book and sell it. :-D :-D

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Aaah thanks Amel, writing a book would be a dream come true. I am trying to work on it, it's just finding the time with my crazy work hours.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Eric, I'll definitely check out PostZoom, Cheers.