Hyberbolic Chambers to …Inca Trail Continued

It’s finally here!

So, I got up at 4:45, threw all my gear in an orange porter bag and got on a bus. We are driving on steep, curvy roads through dusty villages where llama and alpaca graze in front yards. I am finally on the way to the Inca Trail!!
Well….I wrote that early this morning, and I can now say that I have hiked under a full moon on the Inca Trail. How unbelievably cool is that?!
Today was dubbed as a pretty simple day, and a lot of it wasn’t bad, but there were some pretty serious climbs, and the day ended with a 1,000 foot climb up to camp. We hiked 14 kilometers, and due to the fact that the sun goes down at 5:30, I had to night hike some. But it was gorgeous!
When the bus dropped us off at the Inca Trailhead, better known a kilometer 82, we had to go through a serious checkpoint and we got our passport stamped! I am very proud of that stamp, but I will be even more proud of the stamp they put i my passport when I get to Macchu Picchu! 
We spend the day hiking on a trail that is fairly wide and rocky. From time to time there are rock steps, and the trail is in a deep valley surrounded by huge mountains. We hiked along a roaring river, full of trout, for most of the day and it was just delightful. From time to time, we would pass a mud- brick house with a corrugated tin roof being held down by rocks. Children would watch us shyly and the women would offer soft drinks and water for sale. I think this is a primary source of income for some of these folks.
Every now and then, we have to move to the side of the trail to let horses, mules, and llamas go by, being herded by their owners. The trail is actually quite remote and we saw one woman being taken off the trail on a mule!
The most remarkable people on the trail are the porters. Peruvian men ten to be on the small side, and yu wouldn’t guess that they are amazingly strong! They come by us in long lines, sometimes trotting with huge packs on their backs. They must be pure muscle!
I wish I could tell you that I am roughing it, but the porters think of everything. For meals, they put up a big tent, complete with table and stools for us to sit on, and then serve us a huge meal. When we got into camp, our bags were in our tents and there were bowls of hot water outside the door of the tent.
Yep, the hiking is hard, but they do everything in their power to make it as nice as it can be.
Julia and I hiked together all day long and she was fabulous. She could have finished much earlier, but chose to hang out with me and help me pace myself. We had a great day sighting hummingbirds in the bushes and gazing at the mountains towering above us. We really miss Deb and Sharon, who is hiking a different trail, though and can’t wait till we are all together at Macchu Picchu.
Tomorrow is the hardest day of all…..a lot of you know that I have been dreading it. Up 1,500 feet, down 1,000 feet….have lunch and then do it all again. Overall, we gain 3,000 feet tomorrow and lose 2,000. But I am not scared anymore.  Bring it on!
Love, Anna

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