Day 2, Inka Trail

Day 2, Inka Trail, Per˙ (5/10/2012)

[For an introduction to this four-day hike, see Day 1.]

Day 2: The hiking today was the toughest we have ever done. The same was true for Becky and Colin. After leaving our overnight camp, we began climbing steeply immediately, and it didn't stop until we reached Wamiwa˝usca Pass (known to locals as Dead Woman's Pass for obvious reasons), 4000 feet of ascent and hours later. This is the highest point on the entire trail, and at an elevation of nearly 14,000 feet, the hiking and breathing made it at least twice as hard as it otherwise would have been.

About halfway up we had a boxed lunch at Ayapata which was the last outpost along the entire trail at which to buy water or snacks. It's simply not worth it for the venders to climb any further along the trail. As it was, the items got more and more expensive the further along the trail you went. Once you're on the trail, there is no way out except via walking, rescue helicopter or being carried by porters. The next day, a woman was carried by porters after she was unable to go any further. That same day a 37-year old man had a heart attack and had to be helicoptered out. On our Day 2, an Argentinian man collapsed from exhaustion not long after I chatted with him in Spanish. I later saw him on the trail on Day 4 and he was feeling much better.

Ironically, when we started our descent from Wamiwa˝usca Pass we felt relieved (no more climbing!) but after a few hundred of those Inka steps we started feeling it in our calves and our legs shook whenever we stopped. The descent was, in some ways, tougher than the ascent. After hours of grueling uphill and relentess downhill, we settled in our overnight campsite at Pacaymayo, happy to take off our backpacks and boots and enjoy the freshly-cooked food in camp.

Total distance hiked today was about 6 miles in about 7 hours.

Continue to Day 3

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The rooster woke us up!

Moon over the Andes

Day 2 checkpoint

Steep ascent begins immediately

Taking a breather

And climbing

Trail ...


... wildflowers

Becky and Col

Is that Veronica?

Becky and Col resting

Climbing through Tres Piedras

Trail parallels stream

Dense vegetation in Tres Piedras

Inka caterpillar resting

More steps

Inkan fly

Franklin resting

And more climbing

Views ...

... behind us

Laura climbing towards me

Another breather

Peaks of the Andes


Our lunch stop

Becky resting

Post-lunch climbing

Llamas below watching crazy hikers

Taking a break

Climbing to Dead Woman's Pass

Farmland below


Inka steps

View behind

Laura spying the high point

Porters behind and below us

Franklin and Dan

Franklin climbing to Pass

Gorgeous vegetation

Laura and Franklin

Laura sees the hump of Dead Woman's Pass

View back ...

... into the valley

We made it to the peak!

Sign for Dead Woman's Pass

Hikers resting

The four of us at nearly 14,000 feet

Cairns at the top

Dan & Franklin discussing Spanish

Laura resting at the top

Beginning of the brutal descent

Trail winds ...

... far down into the valley

Chatting with a park ranger

View down

View up

The steps ...

... go on forever

My Argentinian friend


Col and Becky descending

The long and winding path!

Views into ...

... the valley

Relentless steps


Constant views

Our camp way below

Waterfall above us

We sleep here tonight

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