Saturday, 16 October 2010

Inca Trail Day 3: Runkurakay Pass

At an elevation of 3600m (11,811 feet or thereabouts) the camp site where we slept on day 2 was the highest place we would sleep and also the coldest, nevertheless my trusty 3 season REI sleeping bag didn't let me down and I woke up refreshed at 5am to the cup of coca tea proffered by one of the porters; dressed inside my sleeping bag - it was too cold to be exposing naked limbs to the elements - packed up my stuff and trotted down to the dining tent for a 5.30am breakfast of pancakes and hot chocolate. Mmmmm pancakes!!!

The mist rolling in over the tents at the neighboring camp.

The first 2 hours of the day's walk were all up hill, but we were assured by Efraim that it would be a relatively easy day. Emphasis on the word relatively!! Still, the view of the mist rolling over the mountains was stunning!!

Looking back to the campsite we'd just left. The two red tents you can see about halfway up on the left are our Gap Adventures tents. The campsites are much larger than you realize when you are in them, since being staggered on the hillside like that means you're only ever aware of your own group and maybe the group next door.

Oh great....steps. Haven't had enough of those yet!! Not!!

Really bloody steep steps.

And more steps!!

The steps led to the Runkurakay Inca ruin. I counted the steps up to the ruin in an effort to try and take my mind off the pain in my legs and behind, although I was pleased to note that I didn't find that morning's uphill hike anywhere near as difficult as I'd been expecting, especially with a full belly of pancakes and hot chocolate, although a lot of other people, who didn't have the benefit of a 3 season sleeping bag - bought or hired - were suffering as a result of a sleepless night owing to the colder overnight temperatures. Approximately 450 steps later we arrived at the ruin.

Beyond the fact that Runkurakay was used by the Incas as a watchtower and resting place. I can't really say I listened too hard to what Efraim was saying about the ruin, because I was too busy fighting off the mosquitos that were dive bombing me. There were so many I had to wrap my scarf around my face and put up the hood of my windbreaker, so I was more than happy to leave, even though that meant...yes, you guess it, more steps. Ugh!!

The view of Runkurakay ruin from above

And up....

And up....

And up....

And up....

The view from the top.

And now down!!


Kitty said...


yknow that cliche about the journey not the destination, comes to me. This must have been such an experience.

Having such a physical vacation must have been really something, no? You are just constantly in the present moment. That seems to good.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty,

That's so true, by the time we got to the end of the hike I really couldn't have given two hoots about Machu Picchu, I just wanted a hot shower and a lie down ;-)

It was also good to be on a trip that forced you to be very present as it was a total break from the daily grind.

Amel said...

The pancake looks DELIIIICCCIIOUUSS!!! :-D And glad to hear your sleeping bag made you sleep well. :-D

The view from above is simply GORGEOUS. :-D

Mosquitoes at such a height? I thought mosquitoes don't like the cold. I mean, after all over here mosquitoes only come out in summer during hot days. When it's not warm enough, they don't come out yet.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel,

It was actually pretty warm during the day at that altitude so maybe that's why there were so many mosquitoes. We covered ourselves in bug spray :-)