Peru Trek Day 6

Rising at 4:30am, pitch black, the outside of our tents covered in a thin layer of ice... and knowing that today was to be the longest, the steepest, the hardest of all days! Just crawling out of the warmth of our sleeping bags was challenge enough! After a hearty breakfast to fuel ourselves (boy we knew we’d need it!), we started off, to be met by a mob of llamas! After marvelling at them and their beauty in this incredibly rugged and scenic landscape, we could find... no more excuses to put off what was ahead of us!

The first part of our day really was straight into it... Up, up, UP! A few hours later, after a real hard slog from everybody, and lots of encouragement and support being shared around, we had made it to the highest point on The Inca Trail... We were standing 4215 metres above sea level! It was an absolute momentous and proud occasion for all involved. Standing not only in but also above the cloud line, it was a truly surreal moment for us all. However, the hard work was not over, far from in fact! From there, we had an exceptionally steep decline, for over two kilometres! The total we were attempting for today was 16 kilometres; the immense distance was one thing, add to that the elevation, the incline/decline and fact that ‘flat’ just does not exist on The Inca Trail, and we were very happy to learn that our guides had organised for us an extra meal break for today! It was with ravenous stomachs and open arms that we accepted a most delicious soup, a short break, before hitting the trail again. More up, steep, more down, steep again! Add to all this the fact that the heavens chose to open up on us too! All waterproof equipment was out, covering ourselves and our packs as best we could! Things cleared for a while, and come mid-afternoon it was finally lunchtime. With the rain having slowed us down (you really need to concentrate at all times whilst on The Inca Trail, but add rain to the equation and it’s even something else!), we powered through lunch and got back to the track; still a few more k’s before we reached our campsite! With darkness drawing near, our head torches at the ready, we managed to pull into our campsite with just a few minutes before sundown. Camped amongst the clouds, we were rewarded for our day’s efforts with a cloud clearing that left just the peak of the mountains popping above the cloud, silhouetted against the clouds behind them. Absolute magic! Very weary heads hitting the pillows (or should I say jackets scrunched up as pillows?!) tonight. But, a sleep in tomorrow... We don’t have to be up until 5am!

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