Inca Trail: Part Two

By Morgan Pettersson

Day Three: Evacuation

Day three ended up becoming a 23km hike.

Track on day three

We had the usual 16kms that everyone does which was really easy, except for the fact that it poured with rain almost non stop.

The only thing was the Peruvian authorities have closed the trail early because of the landslides as it was deemed to dangerous to continue to camp three, where some people died last year in similar weather conditions.

The porters and guides were all on edge, with some of their friends being amongst those who died last year.

Where the porters normally would be seen speed walking the trail they were positively sprinting today, so eager were they to get off it.

This made everyone a little on edge as well.

We were woken up at literally 3am day three because the guides and porters wanted to get everyone off the trail as quickly as possible, and before the other groups so that we were not slowed down.

It was freezing cold, but you can’t stay grumpy too long when a porter comes along with a cup of hot cocoa tea and a smile.

One note of issue I did take on the trail is the conditions and treatment of the porters.

Some companies let them sleep in tent and supply them with proper shoes, others don’t and many of them just wear leather sandals and sleep all huddled up together under roofs or in the cooking tent with no sleeping bags or anything.

If you do purchase a sleeping bag prior to the trek and then don’t want to use it again, consider giving it as a gift to one of the porters, as it was really upsetting to think of them sleeping out in the cold in the freezing mountains.

We had to trek down the mountain from the second camp, and then follow the railway track into the town of Aguascalientes.

Trains would come along every 20 minutes and we had to flatten ourselves against the rock wall with about half a metre between us and the train.

Final dinner with the porters, Edgar and the group

Whilst I was really sad about not finishing the trail, a hot shower and comfortable bed were amazing for my poor tired and aching body!

We did however get a glimpse of the ancient Incan civilisation on day three, with many ruins scattered along the valleys we passed through.

Edgar wanted to stay together all day as a safety precaution because of the warning about the trail deteriorating, but we were slowed down by the couple going so slow in our group that even by sauntering my way along the trail they were still way behind.

Everyone was tired, cold and saturated from the rain so two people from the group walking slowly was not helping matters.

The porters cooked dinner that night at the hostel for us and we had to say a sad goodbye as they would be returning to Cusco that night.

They were so sweet and even managed to some how cook us a cake in the middle of the Inca Trail out of a cooking pot?

It said welcome to Machu Picchu and we sang happy birthday to Felicity as well.

It is a shame that we don’t get to trek up to see Machu Picchu tomorrow morning at sunrise, but as Edgar pointed out there is so much mist and cloud cover that we might not even be able to see anything anyway.

Day Four: Machu Picchu!

What to say about day four?

Success!

Today we finally made it to Machu Picchu, the mysterious lost city of the Incas as Hiram Bingham called it, perfectly covered in fast-moving mist.

Edgar proved the perfect knowledgeable guide with far too much energy and the only bad things was the perpetual rain and cold wind.

Although in saying that the rain caused so much mist that there was a magical feel to the place, which fitted it perfectly I thought.

We only stayed for two hours but saw practically all of the site.

It was indescribable.

It is still fascinating that no one knows what they used the site for or why they left in such a hurry.

Some rocks were left abandoned with holes in them where the workers had begun the task of breaking them to make smaller rocks to build buildings with.

Felicity and I then attempted to waste the next seven hours in the tiny town of Aguascalientes by eating at two restaurants, walking around and using the internet.

There was a dog who we found following us on day two on the Inca trail.

He popped up again on day three and today at the ruins he appeared from behind a wall.

What an amazing journey he had made!

Later we found him wandering around town as we were leaving.

Perhaps he treks the trail often?

The mysterious site

Even though we didn’t make the whole trek and didn’t get to look over Machu Picchu from above, it was still worth it.

We then boarded the train back to Cusco exhausted but content and eager to get back to our friends.

About thirty minutes into the journey the train came to a sudden stop.

A mudslide had hit the front part of the train, and workers were attempting to clear the track.

The rains which had hit on day two of the Inca Trail wreck havoc with the area every year, and this was a stark reminder of how dangerous is was as we had been waking these same train tracks the day before.

Our train carriage of under 25s slept, whilst the next carriage along, with everyone seeming to be over 40, was shaking as everyone sang and salsa danced.

We sat on the tracks for four and half hours, before finally getting into the station and jumping on the bus which took a few more hours to get us back to Cusco.

*part of a two part series. Part one can be found here*

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