Breakfast consisted of pancakes and eggs along with teas, hot chocolate, and coffee.
From the start, the hike was uphill for 2-3 hours until we finally reached the summit of Dead Woman’s pass. JT walked with Debbie and Katie in the second-to-last sub-group of our group. Debbie and Katie walked slowly but steadily up the mountain with great support from JT. It was an extremely hard climb for Katie as she became out of breath and got a racing heartbeat with very little exertion. However, with time and persistence we made it to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass! The entire group waited at the top until we all arrived. Supposedly we arrived about 45 minutes to 1 hour after the first guy (an ultra-marathoner) and the last two guys (Victor and Alex, both over 55) arrived about 20 minutes after us.
After taking pictures at the top, we walked downhill for about two hours. The downhill was rough and slow for those of us who struggle with weak or sore knees. If you look back halfway down, you can see the “dead woman” (that the pass is named for) in the rocks. Pretty cool!
When we finally reached the valley, we ate lunch at the spot many groups camp for night 2.
Then we began the shorter, but still brutal climb up to the second pass of the day. It was tough, but not nearly as bad as Dead Woman’s Pass. The climb downward was really difficult for us, as Katie’s right knee and JT ACL surgery knee were really aching. Our assistant guide Hector, who was supposed to be in the back of the group for this stretch disappeared in front of us and we did not see him for the last hour or so of the downhill. JT got upset at the guides when we finally caught up to our group at a viewpoint, insisting that they don’t leave us behind, in case something goes wrong (foreshadowing…). Katie agreed with JT’s frustrations of the rear guide not actually being at the rear, but felt it should have been brought up privately with the guides instead of in front of the group.
We walked a bit more downhill, including stopping at an Inca site for another Inca and general history lesson. Finally, we made our way to camp as the sun was setting.
“Happy hour” (pre-dinner) snack was excellent with fried wonton crepes and popcorn. Dinner was also excellent as usual.
It was rainy and stormy when we got in our tent for the night. Unfortunately, our rain-fly was broken and would not zip. Our tent leaked a bit, and the temperature got pretty low. We both woke up cold many times that night despite sleeping bags and long underwear. Thankfully, when Katie woke JT to go with her to the not-close bathroom, it was done raining for the night.
See our lunch tent? Yeah, it’s a long way down.
Lots and lots of uneven steps.
Our red lunch tent.
JT’s lunch plate.
Victor on the hike up to the second pass. Our lunch tent is in the background.
Katie pausing on a wooden bridge over a steep drop off.
Pretty red trumpet flowers.
Awesome alpine lake that was near the second mountain pass.
Going through a tunnel after the second mountain pass.
Talk at an Inca site.
Exploring an Inca site.
Our camp for night 2.
Awesome views of the Andes from our night 2 camp (taken the next morning).