Hiking Dead Woman’s pass wore me out. Heather and I slept like babies until about 3am when I woke up freezing cold. I threw on my fleece and went right back to sleep. Before I knew it Jesus was waking us up at 5:30a.
Day 4 of Our Inca Trail Adventure
The drill was the same as yesterday. As soon as we vacated the tent to get breakfast the porters began packing it up. When our group finished breakfast Jesus gathered us together. He told us that today would be about 10 miles of hiking with 4 Inca ruins along the way. By 7:00 we were headed down the Inca Trail.
Sunrise over the Inca Trail
Ruins #1 were at the top of 500 stairs. We stopped, and Jesus gave us the interesting history of what these ruins were used for. (Want to know? Book your Inca Trail Adventure with G Adventures and your guide will gladly tell you!) Another 600 stairs later and we were at the top for another rest break. The good news, the hard hiking was done for the day!
View from above ruins #1 on the Inca Trail
After the break we began our descent into the valley below. I stopped counting stairs at this point. We made it about halfway down when we came upon ruins #2. These were fairly large so Jesus gave us some time to explore before giving us the history of the site. Before long we were back on the trail.
View of ruins #2 before descending to it on the Inca Trail
Panoramic from ruins #2 (click to see bigger image)
We made a short stop at a camp site to use the restrooms before pushing on to lunch. We noted that several groups had setup camp at this point. Jesus told us that some tour companies spend 4 nights on the Inca Trail and this was their stop for the day. But, since we were “Superheroes” we were going further. We secretly suspected that he told all his groups that.
The hike from our restroom stop to lunch was my favorite part of the hike. We were headed back up but the incline was not as aggressive, and the views were amazing. At points we could see forever off each side of the ridge we were hiking. We even got clear views of the glacier across the valley. Several times we stopped just to enjoy the views under a nearly cloudless sky.
Panoramic from the Inca Trail (click to see bigger image)
Example of view from the Inca Trail
Heather descending into cave on the Inca trail
Lunch was served family style with several dishes to choose from. When we were done eating Jesus asked us to stay put. He returned with the chef. The next day was Lucy’s birthday and he had baked her a birthday cake. We were all just amazed that he had baked a cake at the top of a mountain with no oven. And, it tasted great!
Our lunch view and group shot with porters on the Inca Trail
Jesus gave us about 30 minutes after lunch to rest before cracking his whip and heading us back out onto the trail. We still had a few downhill miles to complete before we reached our camp for the night. After about an hour we all made it ruins #3 for the day. Jesus said, “These are Incan ruins built by Incans” and then headed down the trail. I think he sensed we all just wanted to get to camp.
Just before we arrived at our camp we discovered ruins #4. These ruins were quite large and terraced like it was once a farming community. Jesus lined up our entire group and took our picture using the valley as they backdrop. We then headed for camp.
View from atop ruins #4 on the Inca Trail
Group shot from atop ruins #4 on the Inca Trail
During the final leg to camp a portion of our group got distracted by the llamas that were eating the grass around ruins #4. The Mirolli clan decided to try and get an up close llama picture. After several attempts Jesus persuaded them to move along before someone got hurt. Fortunately everyone arrived in camp safe-and-sound, and with all of their fingers still attached.
Mirolli clan harassing the llamas at ruins #4
Since this was our final night of camping we took some time to get to know the porters. After dinner they joined us in the dining tent and each took turns telling us what they had carried on the trail. Some carried food, some carried our bags, some carried tents, there was even one porter that carried the garbage. Dave, as the patriarch of our group, thanked the porters for all of us and handed over a collection we had taken from everyone in our group.
It was not long before everyone was back in their tents and getting some sleep. Tomorrow we would arrive at Machu Picchu. To get there we would be getting up at 3:30 the next morning.