I did it! It wasn't pretty, but I did it. The Inca Trail proved to be a worthy yet beautiful foe but I conquered it nonetheless.
I met some great people in my group of 14 that did the trail together through Gap Adventure Tours. We supported each other throughout the entire trip (at some point in time over the 3 weeks, we all took turns not feeling well).
Day 1 was good - we did 14 kms on relatively flat terrain and it certainly built up our confidence for Day 2 which we all knew was going to be our hardest day. My first night camping wasn't that bad but I certainly wasn't keen about it.
Day 2 - hard as hell. Constant climbing to reach our highest altitude at Dead Women's Pass. The air was thin and the hiking was hard. After five hours we all made it, took celebratory photos and began our 3 hour descent to camp. It was a very hard sleep for me that night, topped off by the fact that I lost my appetite which I knew was a side effect of altitude. This was scary as I knew I needed my water and energy for the long trek ahead.
Day 3 - Gah!!!! It was my turn to be sick. But I reached deep within me and was able to do 17kms of ascents and descents, sometimes puking as I went to make it through the day. Hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Boy did I feel proud as I got in my tent......but also a bit hesitant knowing that we would be getting up at 3am the next morning to start our final hike into Machu Piccu.
Day 4 - 3am wake up, breakfast, an hour long wait, a two hour hike and steep climb up to the Sun Gate and there we were, watching the sun rise over Machu Piccu. What a glorious sight!! After another one hour hike we were there, exploring before the train visitors arrived. It was a stunning, peaceful day which made the ruins even more spiritual. My biggest goal and challenge was accomplished!
Peru was an amazing trip. The people were friendly and the country is full of colours. The food was also great - lots of quinoa and I even ate guinea pig. I also had a very quiet, reflective, and spiritual time in the Amazon jungle - I wish I could have spent more time there.
I encourage everyone to travel. The world should be experienced and appreciated.
Now onto my next goal.......I'm just not sure what it is yet. But the amazing thing is.......I know that whatever challenge I take on, if I believe in myself, I will be successful.
We're all stronger than we think!