This summer our Saturday girl Olivia went on an incredible adventure with her dad to Peru. Here she has documented the amazing experience for us and our brides…
“When my dad first mentioned doing the 4 day Inca Trail trek, happily I agreed… without realising what I was in for. Fast forward 18 months, I was feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement, as I began my 15-hour flight to Peru.
I (finally!) arrived in Cusco and despite feeling like I couldn’t breathe due to the altitude, I was keen to explore the area and squeeze in some quick site seeing. The city was beautiful with a huge cathedral – there were llamas and alpacas everywhere!
On my first full day in Cusco I was relieved to hear that the group would be doing a “light practise walk” before we began our trek the following day. I soon found out that this “light walk,” in reality, was a 7-hour trek. We visited Saksaywaman, a citadel based in the Northern outskirts of Cusco. It was very interesting as I learnt that the fortress is still used today, as Peruvians celebrate Inti Raymi, the annual Inca festival of the winter solstice and new year. It was finally time to begin the trek!
Half asleep, I got on the coach and began the short drive to the entrance of the trek. Finally, we got to the entrance where I was filled with excitement. After a day walking we arrived at our first campsite I couldn’t believe how many stars there were! Our tour guide, Willow, even pointed out the Milky Way to me. In hindsight, Day 1 was physically the easiest. Especially compared to day 2…
One of the things I dreaded most about doing the trek was the 5am wake up call, little did I know that would be one of my favourite things, I got to watch the beautiful sunrise every morning (something I am definitely not used to). I remember someone from my group telling me how Day 2 is the “dreaded day of the Inca Trail” but I just shrugged it off. After walking up a very steep hill for 6 hours, I began to understand why. After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the top of Dead Women’s pass at 4,215 metres, the highest point I would reach. The views were incredible and I felt like the challenge of the incline was worth it. Also, it was really nice that the group helped each other up, despite only knowing each other for 3 days, meaning that all 29 of us made it. After a steep decline for around 2 hours, we had reached our next campsite, which had equally stunning views to the previous, and had some well-deserved sleep.
This was by far the best day and it made me realise why I had come on the trip. The views we were met with were simply breath taking. I ventured through the cloud forest and through the caves which had been carved by the Inca people. The narrow pathway made me realise just how high we were and there was a very steep drop next to it! We went to sleep early that night, for we had a big day coming up, Machu Picchu!
Today was the day! We had a celebratory breakfast consisting of pancakes and bacon before having a ceremony with our porters. I was intrigued to speak with the Porters, particularly after being told some have done the trail over 400 times! What seemed like a quick stroll in comparison to the other days (in reality it was 2 hours long) the Sungate (inti punku) was in sight – the moment we had been waiting for! All of our hard work had led to this point and it was amazing! I would definitely recommend walking to Machu Picchu (as there is an option to get the train) as you go different ways to see Machu Picchu itself. After a tour of the site we got on the coach back down Aguas Calientes, the nearest town. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment that the trip was almost over as I arrived back at the hotel. Quickly, I took what I had wanted the most whilst on my trek- a shower.
Overall, I felt apprehensive before I went to Peru as I was very unsure as to what I should expect but what I can definitely say is that I hugely underestimated how amazed I would be. I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone- but be careful of the llamas chasing you!”