Hey guys, I’m finally back in San Francisco. Four airports, three delayed flights, and almost 24 hours spent traveling later, I’m enjoying my mom’s cooking and cuddling with my cats at my parents’ house. So here it is, the first recap of our awesome Machu Picchu experience.
Day 1 – 10 miles, 9 hours.
I had a hard time falling asleep the previous night and when I woke up, it felt like a giant hand had squeezed my middle during the night. My sides and ab muscles weren’t sore per se, but if I pressed on my stomach, it hurt. Perhaps the first symptom of altitude sickness?
Cusco was freezing and we hurriedly got into the van to drive two hours to Mollepata where we would begin our trek. We met Camilla, our awesome 33-year-old Brazilian trailmate and friend, in the van. A visit to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the World Cup in 2014 is already in the works.
The first day was rough. The trail was 70% uphill and though we felt ok most of the morning, all of us started lagging hard after lunch. Thank goodness Michael carried the backpack about 90% of the time. We had horses carrying all of our bags and supplies who traveled ahead of us, but we still had a small bag or backpack with water, sunblock, snacks, and an extra shirt etc.
Lunch was absolutely gorgeous. It was on top of a mountain and we had about an hour and a half just to recuperate and nap on the grass as our three horses grazed nearby.
I surprised myself, and probably our tour guide Ivan, by correctly identifying five different plants the first day – squash, blackberry, aloe, eucalytpus, and fennel. Not bad for a city girl. Weirdly enough, my parents have three of those plants growing in their backyard.
We straggled into our campsite, Soraypampa, around 6 p.m., very tired and wheezing a little since we were at around 12,600 feet altitude. Benito, our chef, and Wilbert, our horsemaster, were already hard at work making our dinner in the dark. After eating we all hit the hay early around 8 p.m. We were all pooped and knew that the next day we were going to be hiking an even longer distance.