June 18, 2008
Well, today was the day I have been dreading for months and months…day two of the Incan Trail. For all you hikers out there, day 2 consists of over 3000 feet elevation gain And 2,000 feet of loss…and goes over some of the roughest terrain I have ever seen. And that is including the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Julia said that it was like the AT on steroids! AND it was all done at an elevation that topped out at about 14,000 feet.
Can you see why I was so scared?
Well, the fact that you are reading this is proof that I survived. Not only did I survive but I feel pretty good and I have a huge smile on my face!
It took me 14 hours to do it in, and with the exception of a half hour lunch break, it was pretty much continuous hiking.
I have two secrets that helped me survive the day…
1. Julia. Plain and simple, I could not have done it without her! She taught me yesterday how to slow way, way down so that I could go uphill forever with out stopping. My friend, LiteShoe tried to teach me this years ago, but I never got it. Julia paced me, and I was able to really get it!
2. Even more importantly, when I initially emailed friends and family about this hike, I said that I would be saying, “I think I can”, over and over. Immediately, a bunch of ya’ll emailed me back, saying “I know you can”. So that became my mantra. I pictured all of you smiling at me and saying that and it really kept me going!
Todays hike had two giant ups and downs, with lunch in between. when Julia and I got in for lunch, everyone else was long gone and Enrique kept pushing us to hurry. When I tried to stand up after lunch, my legs just refused and it took a second to get them to obey! That was the only time I got really worried. My legs are completely shot and I still have a big, ugly climb up and back down. Well, we ignored Enrique’s frustrated looks and I took a minute to take of my boots and rub my feet. I got everything moving, but I knew I was running on near-empty.
When we finally reached the top of the second pass, the sun was starting to go down. Julia has a real gift for going down hill, and she loves to do it. So, with the coast clear, she decided to “get her down on”, and off she went. Man, She is something to see! I kept trudging on, and before you knew it, Enrique and I were taking out our headlamps for the second evening of nighthiking.
I just concentrated on stepping down these big rocks, and was slowly making my way down when I saw a group of porters coming towards me. Two were there to see if I needed help and two were there to…..get this….bring me boiling water and cocoa tea! I politely declined and explained that I just wanted to get down the mountain, so they headed back while the other two remained with Enrique and I.
I made my way along the trail as tiny moths started to dart in and out of the light of my headlamp. The soft sounds of the porters conversing in Quechuan circled around me as the bright moon rose and the stars came out. Past exhaustion, all I could think is, “Oh my…look at where I am”.
Two hours after the sun went down, I finally walked into camp and all of the porters and members of my group were in a line cheering and clapping for me. Later, when I asked Julia why the group members were outside clapping, she said that they were drawn out of the dining tent with the ruse of coming out to look at the moon.
I did a small dance of the real women and was hustled in to the dining tent where everyone was sitting down to dinner. I knew that there was a good chance that I wouldn’t be able to stand up after dinner, but as Hosea handed ’round hot spiced rum punch, I really didn’t care. I had survived Day 2. Rumor has it that tomorrow is easy…we will see about that!
Love, Anna aka Mud Butt
(LiteShoe says “Way to Go, Woman! You Rock!”)