The Inca Trail

Day 1

9.98 miles - 21,761 steps - 219 floors climbed

Six months of preparation finally ended and we started hiking the Inca Trail. Day one starts in the sacred valley and we head up into the mountains over the course of several hours. We ended up in the small village of Wayllapampa, roughly 9,800 feet above sea level. For the most part the first day is a nice warm up. There’s nothing too difficult, it’s just about getting your bearings and preparing for more challenging hikes that lie ahead.

Day 2

8.85 miles - 19,307 steps - 423 floors climbed

Day Two is the most challenging of the entire hike. We climbed 4,000 feet in elevation to the highest point of the trail and reached Dead Woman’s Pass, at 13,829 feet (the photo above). Then we spent a few hours going down the other side before setting up camp for the day.

Day 3

10.9 miles - 23,777 steps - 183 floors climbed

In celebration of our Day 2 milestone and reaching the highest point of the hike, I decided to partake in a Peruvian delicacy at lunch: guinea pig. In hindsight, it was a terrible mistake. That evening I got sick and had a 24-hour bout with food poisoning. For that reason, Day 3 was incredibly challenging.

Anastasia and the rest of the team took amazing care of me that day as I went in and out of consciousness (out in the photo above) and mustered up enough energy to keep going. By the evening, we setup camp only 2 hours from Machu Picchu and my energy was coming back.

By the time we setup camp for the evening, our view from the tent was of Machu Picchu mountain. We were just a couple hours away.

We traveled with a really phenomenal crew that made our lives on the hike much easier. It’s hard to convey how hard these people work on the trail. Their spirit is gracious and sweet. People like Domingo (the cook seen below) had a lasting impact on us all.

Just to give an idea of how hard the porters work, take a look at this video of them running down a narrow flight of stairs carrying about 150 pounds each ...

Day 4

12.9 miles - 26,366 steps - 217 floors climbed

Although our morning hike to Machu Picchu was only a couple of hours, we spend most of the day walking around and still racked up 12 miles. It’s truly an amazing place.

What photos don’t capture are the incredible scale of the place. It is huge. One could easily spend 12 hours exploring the whole thing. People may wonder why llamas and alpacas are there, but they mow the lawn. :-)

Total hike metrics: 49.2 miles - 107,103 steps, 1,105 flights climed