Friday, August 8, 2014

Heading out on the Inca Trail

One year ago today, we headed out on the Inca Trail.
Sounds simple, right? In a way it is. Until you consider that these photos were taken at about eight in the morning and we'd already been awake and traveling for four hours.
(Is anyone surprised I have a purple backpack?)
So, the Inca Trail starts at kilometer 82, also known as Piscacucho. That's great, but Cusco, where our hotel was, is at kilometer 1. When the Spanish invaded Peru, the Inca emperor took one look at the situation and decided it was a battle they couldn't win. They disappeared into the jungle and tore up the section of the Inca Trail that left Cusco so the Spanish couldn't follow them. The typical four-day Inca Trail hike now starts at Piscacucho. From there, we hiked up a local trail until we joined the original trail late that afternoon.

The first section of the trail took us through several Quechua villages and outposts like this one. The locals earn a portion of their income selling supplies to underprepared tourists, but the villages also contained examples of Inca engineering.  Those water canals date from the Inca empire.
We passed Llactapacta as we headed up into the mountains. I was greatly amused this past fall when one of the early episodes of Agents of SHIELD included a scene at Llactapacta. It didn't look anything like this on TV.
We stopped for lunch and OMG, the food! I've eaten in some pretty amazing restaurants in my travels, but I would put every single one of them up against the food our camp cook prepared for us on a propane stove in little campsites all along the trail. Five-course gourmet meals...

The thing that stayed with me the most, though, was the scenery, so I'll leave you with some pictures of the glory that is the Andes.

Want to know more about my trip to Peru? Check out The Path, coming on Sept. 1 from Dreamspinner Press.

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  1. Those are some amazing scenes in those pictures. I'd love to go see all of that one day myself.

    1. I can't say enough about how gorgeous it was. I will also be very honest about how physically demanding it was. I'm in pretty decent shape, but the altitude did me in. I have never been as exhausted as I was at the end of the four day hike. I slept for 36 hours straight.

      It was worth every single step.

  2. Thanks for sharing all the pictures. I'll definitely have to make a trip there!

  3. Wow! What a trip! The pictures are gorgeous - I have to ask, did you do any type of physical training for this trip? Because it definitely sounds physically challenging and I admire you for even attempting it.

    1. It was incredibly physically challenging. I have never done anything that hard in my life. I work out regularly and think of myself as being in good shape, but the altitude (I live at 45 feet above sea level) is something you just can't prepare for.