Inca Trail Day 1

We awoke at 3:40am to finish packing.  We headed to the front door of Hatun Quilla ( at 4:20am, only to find the office (which you enter and exit from) locked and the emergency exit pad-locked. Not a good situation for us, or in case of fire! We rang the ‘ring for help’ button multiple times before the owner/manager (who we think lives on-site on the third floor) came down after 4:30a to let us out.  We left our luggage with him and had him call the emergency Llama Path number, as by that time we were 5-10 minutes late.  We then hurried to the meeting point in Regocijo Square, where we were the 14th and 15th arrivals to our group’s bus. The assistant guide Hector gave us some coco leaf tea before we boarded the waiting bus. We waited until 4:50pm before departing as we were waiting for a guy that ended up being a no-show.

We drove 1.5 hours (stopping to pick up a few porters at the porter house in Poroy) to Ollantaytambo where we had a 15 soles per person breakfast buffet with scrambled eggs, bread, mini pancakes, some fruit, as well as coffee and coca tea. In hindsight we should have brought our own breakfast, but the buffet wasn’t bad and we needed energy.

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.

Restaurant for breakfast in Ollantaytambo.

Porters packing their bags at kilometer 82.

Walking behind a Llama Path porter to the kilometer 82 checkpoint.

At the start of the Inca Trail with our group!

Official sign near the kilometer 82 checkpoint.

The kilometer 82 checkpoint.

On the bridge after passing through the kilometer 82 checkpoint.

Our porters passing us while we were taking a break.

Somewhere along the Inca Trail on day 1 before lunch.

Katie in front of an archeological site on the Inca Trail.

Stopping at a viewpoint on the Inca Trail before lunch.

Relaxing at our lunch spot on Day 1.

Guacamole and chips for our lunch appetizer.

Rice, stuffed tomatoes, and breaded fish for lunch.

At night 1 camp on the Inca Trail.

At night 1 camp on the Inca Trail.

Meeting the porters and cook on night 1.

Tea time before dinner on night 1.

We saw a tarantula on night 1 near our tents.  Miguel herded it back into the woods.

Our first camp on the Inca Trail (the next morning).

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