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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Happy Thanksgiving: Tough First Day on the Inca Trail

PERU | Thursday, 22 November 2007 | Views [1027]

We didn't know if we'd even make it to the starting line today. After having been so careful about what we chose to eat the four days before our trek, Darrin came down with a case of food poisoning around 11:00 p.m. last night, and was up all night. Not a great way to set out on a strenuous trek. But, he insisted on going, so we met our group by 6:00 a.m. to catch our bus. Unfortunately for Darrin, Immodium wasn't working, so our first day was painful, with frequent dehydration and rehydration stops. He pushed through, hoping by lunch that he'd feel better, but he just kept getting worse. We had trekked several hours and only climbed 250M over 7K, and still had another 7K and 400M ascent to go. Our porters had run up ahead of us (yes, literally running in little leather sandals carrying heavy metal tent posts, propane tanks, cooking burners and all our food, tables, chairs, etc on their backs). These guys, similar to the porters in Nepal, are amazing. For lunch, they already had our giant group tent set up, with table cloths and place settings neatly arranged. Darrin crashed out on a plastic tarp while the cooks prepared lunch. Our lunch site, Llaqtapata, had a gorgeous view of the mountain range and river raging over the rocks snaking through the mountain canyons. Darrin slept while the rest of us ate a gourmet meal of quinoa soup, several main entrée dishes with chick, beef and deliciously prepared vegetables. To top it off, we had chichi (local corn drink) and freshly picked mint tea. Poor Darrin can't even handle crackers, let along keeping any water in him, and we're all gorging ourselves. It's going to be a long afternoon. We take our time with the remaining distance, and get to a beautiful campsite, Wayllabamba. Again, our porters are heros, as all our tents are neatly set up by the time we arrive, all facing out to the amazing mountain view. This is pure luxury having our tents set up for us, but even better, they set up warm plastic buckets of water to wash our hands and face. I must say, though, for my surfer chica friends at home reading this who have all camped together in Mexico... yes, especially you, Gina, there are no "queenie mattresses" here that the porters blow up for comfort. The mat we're given doesn't really cover enough ground to keep us rock free or warm from the very cold ground. However, better than Mexico camping excursions, there is actually a make-shift port-o-potty that they set up... not very private (although at least it's something) with four walls of tent type material and a cylinder with a bit of a toilet rim, right in front of the first row of tents. Taking your flashlight in at night reveals your squatting silhouette under the starry night sky. Actually, we soon realize this make shift bathroom was much better than the alternative campground bathrooms which are toilet seats propped up on a high platform box, and for us girls in the group who are all around 5'3" tall, none of us could actually reach the seat, so we all had to "stand on the seat" which was clearly prohibited by a sign in Spanish on the wall. Luckily none of us weighed enough to cause the wooden box to collapse, and none of us fell into the deep pit, but it reminded me of signs we saw in Cambodia in Angkor Wat, where they had "western style" toilets and little illustrations on the back of the door, showing how to properly sit on the toilet (versus stand), for those who have only been used to squatters. Another amazing three course meal and coca leaf tea for altitude adjustment and we were set for bed. Darrin made an appearance for the soup, but quickly ducked back into the tent crashing out. We gazed out at the millions of stars in the clear sky, under a full moon we fell asleep in our tent, Darrin all drugged up on three grams of Cipro which we were very happy we purchased a replenishment supply of in the pricey Cusco pharmacy several days prior.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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