May 18:  Inca Trail

Up 5am.  I slept a bit.  Had some boring dreams despite sleeping with my head downhill which I assumed would produce something better.

I left my notebook out in the tent to dry, but it didn't.  Still cold and damp.

Started today's hike at 6am.  More uphill.

This is from the ruins at Runkuraqay, looking down on our campsite at Paqaymayo that we just left.

Dead Woman's Pass from Runkuraqay.  No one died there.  The name comes from the profile of a reclining woman you can see here.  Big rocky pillow behind her head, if that helps.

Reflective lake on the way up to the next pass.

It was another 200 m up to the pass.  Here's one view from there.

And here's another view!

Matt and Rob.  Hot.



At 7:45am we headed downhill from here.  I smelled old sweat in my vicinity but it wasn't coming from me.  My knees were in good shape.

At 8:30am we saw these ruins across the valley.

Then we visited these at Sayacmarca.  Most people explored.  I didn't.  Just tired from walking.

More Sayacmarca.

My nose was running for much of the hike, but sometimes when I wiped there was nothing.  Maybe it was just week-long nosehair and dust creating the sensation of liquid.

Had breakfast 9am-9:35am.  We got pancakes with our names written on them in syrup.  Mine said "Cristopher".  Fucking Spanish misspelling fucks.  Also had hot chocolate.  A smart selection.

It was a little more than an hour to the 3rd and final pass at 3700 m.  Not too steep uphill.  Then we went downhill a bit and encountered more ruins.

We're in a cloud here.  And a couple minutes later we confirmed that it was a rain cloud, because it started pouring.  Not good at all.  We spent the next hour walking down rocky steps in the rain wearing ponchos--or in my case, a trash bag.  Very humid vestments, especially in the rain.  Then kept walking after the rain ended.

Rio Urubamba on the way down.  We heard a train around here.  Almost back into civilization.

Ruins near Winaywayna, close to our campsite.

This downhill trek (from 3700 m to 2600 m) ended at 1:30pm at our campsite.  Had lunch at 2pm.  Some chicken thing and unknown stuff.

There was yet another Inca site near the campsite that people went to at 4pm, but I was out.  Left knee hurting (not a recurrence of any injury--I realized I lead with my right leg when I walk downhill, so the left knee takes the brunt).  I rested in my tent with my legs spread and then couldn't raise them without manual assistance.

Got up from my rest at 5pm for tea and popcorn.  Didn't sleep on account of it's a very noisy campsite (porters and other tour groups).  Also, every time someone walked by my tent, I could feel every stomp.

After tea and popcorn we played Shithead.  I lost a couple more times, then got strategic.

Dinner 7pm.  More chicken, but still good.  We had a ceremony for the porters and cooks afterward.  Gave them their tips, and they all came around for a receiving line.  I forgot to wash my hands afterward though!  And then I touched my eyeballs!  Gross.

Played one more game of Shithead, which I didn't lose, and went to bed at 8:30pm.