Inca Trail. Day One.
How are you? I’m OK but I’d prefer it if I was in a hotel room and not a tent. Today I counted sixty-nine donkeys. I thought if I gave myself a task other than trying not to faint it might make walking in the rain up vertical slopes with a rucksack more bearable. Did I spell bearable right? It looks weird written in pen and I have no way of checking. No wonder the Incas didn’t write anything down. They seem like they were very clever and they probably didn’t want to be associated with grammatical errors of any sort.
I hope my laptop is OK in the hotel safe. I’m quite worried about it, although I should probably be more worried about the fact that my tent is on a slope on a mountainside and every time I move, I seem to roll a little downhill in my sleeping bag. I also need a wee, but I don’t want to go because the loo at this campsite is miles away and there are lots of big animals snuffling about. One of the guys said he was holding in a pooh because he didn’t want to walk through ‘the donkey shit gauntlet’ just to get to the toilet. There really are a lot of donkeys up here. I swear half the world’s population must live on the Inca Trail.
Anyway, today was OK. There were only a few hard bits really. Elias says we’ve made it through the easy day. All up, the Inca Trail is forty-three kms and I’m not even sure how many we walked today, but we were hiking for a good six hours after making it through the checkpoint. My legs hurt a bit but already the scenery is mind-blowing and our chef, Octavio is a genius. He made grilled tout for lunch with rice and some sort of spinach quiche. For dinner we had stir-fried beef.
To think that someone had to carry the stove all this way… it’s insane. I saw one guy rush past me with eight stools tied to his back today, too, and another with a bag of heavy tent poles. You’re not allowed to leave anything at the campsites on the trail, so everything has to be carried in and out and re-erected by the porters, every time.
You should see these guys. There are fifteen of them in our crew and just eight of us ‘trekkers’ including Elias. They range in age from twenty years old to fifty-three, all of them as strong as mules. Elias said the oldest porter working the trek is sixty-three but he’s not in our group. That’s the same age as my dad. It’s almost too much to imagine my dad carrying a bag of tent poles up near vertical slopes in Peru. He gets grumpy enough pushing a trolley round Sainsburys….
Read the rest in Latinalicious on Dec 01. Order your Kindle copy now on Amazon!