Our Inca Trail hiking trip was all set with G Adventures. All we had left to do was prepare for the trip. I’d love to say that Heather and I took then next 7 months preparing for the trip. We didn’t. We had a trip planned to Jamaica first, and life just got busy. It was probably late February before Heather finally drug me out on our first practice hike.
To set the stage for you, we are not camping people. My idea of camping is a Holiday Inn Express. A hike is anytime you have to walk on something other than pavement. Our Inca Trail adventure called for 3 nights in a tent and 4 days without pavement! Two things I was not real sure how to prepare for. No worries though, I know how to work the Google and would figure it out.
Information On Hiking the Inca Trail
Googling “Hiking the Inca Trail” yielded little help. Everyone wanted to sell me a trip, but few wanted to help me plan for it. For starters I needed to know what the trail conditions were like, what to pack and not to pack, what weather to plan for, etc. What I needed was a detailed blog that told me step-by-step the best way to plan for this adventure. It may exist, but I never found it.
I remember thinking this was a great opportunity for my blog. I figured I’d do the hike and then blog all of the gory details to help those to come after me. Bad news. On the final day of the hike I had an epiphany. The Inca Trail is best experienced without knowing every detail of what is coming. Why? I am not sure why. All I can say is that the lack of details, especially for a planner like me, was part of the “journey”.
What does this mean for my blog posts about this trip? In the information that follows I will try my best to provide some practical planning tips. I will try to discuss the actual experience of the hike without giving away too much detail. My goal is to give you a sense of what you’ll experience on this adventure without spoiling the journey.
Physical Preparation for Hiking the Inca Trail.
If you are not an active person normally you have two choices: cancel your trip, or start preparing early. Fortunately Heather and I are fairly active. I’d classify our fitness as above average. We both hit the gym every week day, and I run and Heather walks during the weekend. Even with our level of fitness there were sections of the Inca Trail that were pretty tough.
If you only had time to focus on one area of physical preparation it should be cardio. Run, or walk, as many hills as you can find. Hill repeats need to be your friend. We live in Georgia. The highest point, Brasstown Bald, is 4,784 feet above sea level. This is still 9,000 feet lower than the highest point on the Inca Trail. To give a little perspective, the highest point in Georgia is still over 7 Empire State Buildings below Dead Woman’s Pass!
Leg strength is another area to work on. I would recommend long sets of 20″ or 24″ weighted box step-ups. What weight? I estimate my pack was between 20 and 25 pounds fully loaded. Doing step ups with two 25 pound dumb bells should get you there. Why step ups? I can’t tell you that… just trust me.