Then we got back in our group’s bus and headed to kilometer 82 (train distance reference), the starting point of our trek. Much of this ride was on a pretty poor unpaved road.
At kilometer 82 we unloaded, used the bathrooms (1 sole per person), sunscreened, watched the porters pack, received our daily snack pack, and then headed to the control checkpoint. At the checkpoint we had to present our passports, permits (given to us by our guide) and Katie’s ISIC card. Then we were off!
The trail was relatively flat, with a few short (300-500′) uphills, until lunch. Katie got out of breath pretty quickly on the uphills, which she found concerning. We attempted to walk as a group before lunch. The climate was arid, with lots of cacti. We stopped for lunch at a spot used as a night 1 campsite by other groups. The porters gave us bowls of water with soup to wash our hands before lunch. The site was grassy so many of us took our shoes off while we rested and talked with our fellow hikers, but this proved to be a bad idea as Katie got bit on the bottom of her foot. This was also our first experience in Peru with squat toilets (pretty much just a hole in the ground), although they were familiar from Turkey.
Then we continued walking and the trail got to be a bit more uphill. The climb on day 1 was a more difficult than Katie expected. We finally reached camp after just over 9 miles of walking and net 2000′ climb (for the day).
As we were walking today, we both chatted with a variety of people. Overall we had a great group with a good variety of people.
The porters greeted us by clapping as we walked into camp. They gave us water and soap to wash up with (and most of us changed into dry, warmer clothing as it would get dark during dinner), and then it was “happy hour” snack-time. Snack-time served shortly before dinner generally included popcorn and something else. Then we left the dining tent, changed into dry clothing, and then it was dinner time.
For dinner we had delicious chips and guacamole, pumpkin soup, multiple entrees, and dessert.
After dinner, we all turned into our tents for bed. Part of our tent was on a slope, so JT’s head was slightly higher than his feet while sleeping. Katie ended up having a rock under her bed that was annoying. However, the ear plugs were extremely useful as others in our group snored and this allowed us to sleep through clean-up and cooking duties that the porters completed after we went to sleep and before we woke up.
Breakfast in Ollantaytambo.