I'm sorry to have kept you faithful readers in suspense for so long...it's been crazy busy since I last wrote, I literally have not had time to write anything.
Yesterday (my birthday!) I got a few unexpected hours off in the afternoon, so after a much-needed siesta (which as everyone knows is probably the best birthday present I could receive), I decided to try to tap out a few thoughts and memories of my latest adventure: a four-day trek through the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!
Where to begin??
I have done hiking and I have done camping, but I have never combined the two before, and to say I was nervous about embarking on this trek would be a serious understatement. I am not a hardcore outdoorswoman and I feared to the weight of my backpack (which ended up at approx. 11 kilos...which is a lot for me!) combined with the difficulty of the trail would be too much for me.
However...this is a challenge I have been thinking about for quite a while, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. It is another fear that I needed to overcome.
There is so much to say...and I can't seem to find the words...
I know it sounds cheesy, but this was not just a hike, it was also a journey on many different levels. There is a lot of time for reflection and I was challenged and confronted with things about myself that I wasn't expecting. If I had to sum up the whole experience in one word it would be "Humbling".
It was humbling to be surrounded by jagged mountain ranges, in absolute peace and quiet, just taking in the stunning natural beauty and incredible Inca ruins staggered along the trail. It made me feel transported to a different world, like I was sneaking a peek at "the big picture", which also made me feel completely tiny and insignificant.
It was humbling to be served by the porters, like the unjustly privileged white girl that I am. While I struggle to carry a 30 L padded, brandname backpack of my personal "necessities" up a hill, sweating and breathing hard, they scamper past with probably over twice as much weight on their backs in nothing more than glorified nylon bags, so that they can arrive at our campsite hours before us to set up our tents and cook us a gourmet meal. Some wear worn-out sandals, or sneakers, and they bring nothing for themselves but the clothes on their backs. They get up before us, and go to bed after us. They do our cooking and cleaning. They pack in everything from propane tanks to the dining table. Their lives are very difficult, and the work is the only way they can provide for their families.
And so they clap and thank us for our business. Humbling.
On the third day we got into a bit of a time crunch because we wanted to visit a certain historical sight which would close at 4:30pm, and we were running late. Due to the unrelenting evil stairs of the previous day followed by MORE hours of stairs that afternoon, we had to pick up the pace and my knees and quads literally gave out with about a half hour of walking left to go.
It is a difficult thing to face when your body refuses to do what you tell it to.
I am a proud woman and I do NOT like to admit defeat, or to accept help. That day, I had to do both. It was extremely Humbling, and I have a hard time admitting it even here where only friends will read it.
Neverthless, the trek was an amazing experience, and I loved almost every minute. I was with a really fun group, and our guide was funny, and very knowledgable and passionate about Inca history, which really enriched the whole trip. As a huge bonus, we had PERFECT weather the whole time. It basically only rained at night after we had gone to bed. Amazing. Especially since we are in the middle of the rainy season!
I´m sorry I am not able to to put up any photos at this time. I don´t have the cable to connect the camera, and there is no spot for the memory chip...I might be able to figure something out eventually, but for now you´ll just have to imagine it :)