Thursday, November 1, 2007

Inca Trail, Day Two. The Hard Day

Wakey wakey

We awoke to a cloud-speckled dawn and a cup of coffee served to us while still snugly cocooned in our sleeping bags.This was camping at it's most luxurious. In fact all the worst bits of roughing it had been removed, and we were left ot experience something more closely resembling a mobile hotel. Our tents were packed away for us while we breakfasted on porridge, toast, fruit salad and yogurt. The worrying overnight rain had stopped and amongst the opulence of the food tent Puma explained the days itinerary.

Day 2 has the reputation for being the hardest walk, encompassing around 12km of steep hills and steps. After a sweaty, knee-bursting few hours of incline we reached the first pass, the highest point on the journey. At 4215 metres above the normal human habitat (sea level), the thin air made the climb physically fatiguing, but the open terrain, which meant you could actually see how far away the top was, made this section a psychological uphill as well (and watching the overloaded porters power skywards made us feel plain embarrassed).

Resting on the first pass

Ceremonial coca leaves and rocks

When the last of our group dragged themselves to the peak, Puma led a small ceremony to thank Pachamama (Mother Earth) for our good fortune on the trip so far. We descended through he clouds on the other side of the hill where camp and lunch were waiting for us. The afternoon was spent recovering, relaxing and napping after the morning's excesses.

After the first pass

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