The Inca Trail was not my first trek but it was my first time to South America and my first time into the southern hemisphere. Stepping off the plane in Cusco was the first realization that I was back at Altitude, a feeling that I had not had for some time. Cusco was brilliant and my favorite part was going into the local market and seeing all the locally grown produce (and delicacies) for sale.
The locals are amazing. They are so welcoming and smiley. Before we started our trek we went white water rafting – which was a brilliant ice breaker for the group and I can’t remember the last time I had laughed so hard with my whitewater rafting crew. I had never been white water rafting but I would certainly recommend it. I had not been trekking for quite a few years and I could not wait to start the Inca Trail, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. The 1st day of walking was really gentle and it was the day when the group establish their walking pace and getting to know each other. Day 2 was a 1,000m ascent up and over Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200m). I am not going to say it was easy, as it wasn’t but the feeling at the top was sheer elation and the views were outstanding., not to mention the amazing wildlife and fauna along the way – although I don’t think you appreciate it whilst you are ascending. The 3rd day was a long but enjoyable walking day – apart from the rain – but we were all prepared for it and it didn’t spoil the day. I never expected to see as many Inca ruins as we saw, they were almost around every corner and the scenery was breathtaking. On our final day on the trail we were up before 4am – and the tents were being pulled down around us as our crew were eager to get us to breakfast, and I was eager to see Machu Picchu. Once the gates opened for the final stage of the trail it was a gentle 2 hour walk to get to the sun gate - once you had climbed- the locally named – OMG steps. What a moment. I was overcome with the moment, my first glimpse – still a little way away – of Machu Picchu. I had seen it in the magazines, books and on TV and I was finally here. It was awesome and a moment I will never forget. The whole trip was excellent, the tour leader, Jorge and his team were outstanding and really helped every member of the team achieve their dream of seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world. I would like to go back – but for longer next time.