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Thread: Inca Trail

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    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    Default Inca Trail

    If any of you have hiked this trail up to Machu Pichu, I would like to get a lot of basic information about it from you. Thanks.--Kinnickinic
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

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    Lots of tourists from what I hear (haven't been there myself).
    Consider going to the Cordillero Blanca using Huaraz as a base.
    The most beautiful mountain scenery ever.
    There are books on trekking in Peru. The one I remember is by Bradt.
    Read up on altitude sickness (AMS).
    Eat the ice cream even if it makes you sick; there are tropical fruit we never see here that make the best ice cream.
    If you have a chance visit the Peruvian Amazon (Iquitos).
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    Quote Originally Posted by SawnieRobertson View Post
    If any of you have hiked this trail up to Machu Pichu, I would like to get a lot of basic information about it from you. Thanks.--Kinnickinic
    This is a strenouous 50-mile trail through some rough but beautiful mountain terrain; there are plenty of guiding companies and porters will carry most of your gear so it is not the same as preparing for a solo hike. The economy of Cusco and the Urumbamba Valley is almost totally dependent on the tourist trade you represent, so there will be much competition for your business.

    You will never, ever forget your experience hiking this trail to the ancient ruins of Maccu Piccu. It is probably one of the top 10 experiences you could have on the planet Earth.

    I haven't been able to hike it yet. I have only taken the train from Cusco to Maccu Piccu and toured the ruins (I only had a weekend to visit, at the time). The train tracks parrallel the trail and the Urubamba River, so I saw a lot of it and saw many hikers making the trek. (If offered an ear of local corn, do partake. It is the sweetest you will ever have; enormous kernels and absolutely wonderful drenched in butter. It is also how many Peruvians make a living, so tip generously).

    I was very envious of everyone on the trail. I have a few goals in life. One of them is to one day return and to hike this trail. Do not let anyone talk you out of it. With the porters, even a man of advanced years can hike this trail with relative ease.

    Altitude will be a primary consideration. I would recommend, if you can afford it, to spend a week touring in Cusco prior to making your hike to acclimate yourself to the decreased oxygen. There are many things to see in and around Cusco, including ancient ruins and historic churches and buildings and the expenses will be minimal. Drink the coca tea offered everywhere.

    Spending a week (or as many days as you can) in Cusco at 10,800 feet will help acclimate you to the altitude you will be hiking through the mountains (somewhat lower - around 8,000 feet).

    I envy you sir. Enjoy your hike.

  4. #4

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    I hiked it with a partner in '95.
    Beautiful trail.
    We had some rain.
    I believe you MUST take a guide anymore although that certainly wasn't the case in '95.
    I hate when popular trails do that. Mostly because people camp where they shouldn't and do stupid things but also to boost the economy i guess.

    One thing that we did that i highly suggest. On the last morning (the day that finishes with Macchu Picchu itself) get up very early (like 4 AM or so) and get to gunsight pass for sunrise. You will see some of the lightshow things going on that will be explained later. (From the guides at Macchu PIcchu itself)

    It all depends on what season it is but we were there very close to Equinox in March and ...........................well, you'll see.

    There are also some other great trails around that won't have the hordes of people on them. I think i had the best times doing these other ones as they are full of history, you can see the old Inca roads from miles away that are 600+ years old and growing in.

    And (the best part) you will meet some real people who actually live up in those mountains and work the land. They are the friendliest people we met on the whole trip and we shared many things with them. (also saw a baby llama being born up there)

    Enjoy!

    ps yeah, 14,500 "dead women's pass" is tough so you should wait in Cusco a few days and get acclimated.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  5. #5

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    My wife and I hiked it last summer. Feel free to send me a PM if you'd like.

  6. #6

    Default Inca trail

    Mudbutt has a great journal of their hike


    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=7714

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    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    Thanks, All. I've decided to save myself for my true love, the AT. (Remind me of that when I'm whining through Pennsylvania.) Nevertheless, the next time I win a trip to Peru, I'll do it. BTW, one of the companies which offers the tours suggests that those 65 and over should do the lesser 2-day hike.--Kinnickinic
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

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    The OP seems to be sort of done with the thread but for anybody else:

    My parents, who are in their late 50's/early 60's, did it this last May and really enjoyed it. They are fit, but unaccustomed to hiking/camping, and they did just fine. They had one of the fancier guiding companies deal with transporting their gear and providing food. Apparently the food was kind of horrendous (potatoes are apparently one of the sole sources of nutrition out there and my parents reported several nights of "potato pasta with potato sauce." Also, the sleeping conditions are less than comfortable for those used to hotel rooms. Those who aren't hikers, are markedly out-of-shape, or are seeking a pampering vacation may want to look elsewhere.

    As someone mentioned above, arrive at the actual ruins early, as there are a limited number of permits that allow you to ascend above the city and appreciate some amazing and unique views.

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    A funny story about the actual Macchu Picchu ancient town.
    Like i said, we were there very early (1st ones there), so we hung around for about 5 or 6 hours checking everything out.
    We sat in one spot near the top for over 2 hours and listened to the tour guides as the various groups would come through.

    For one group, the guide explained that this was the spot of the high court.
    For another, a different guide explained that the same spot was the where they sacrificed the virgins.
    Still another one said this is where the big party was held every equinox.

    It's like they don't know what happened there really as the town was only discovered about 40 years ago although the ruins are from the 16th century or thereabouts so, they make up interesting stories to try to outdo each other.

    It is a beautiful place.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Karen
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    I was wearing my Macchu Picchu sweatshirt when I read these posts!! That's because it's July 19th but COLD up in Maine where I am for the summer. MP is the most amazing place and I would really recommend it. Hike the inca trail up, stay one night at the Sanctuary lodge at the top and then take the Orient Express train down for the whole experience. Don't worry about altitude at Macchu Picchu, I am a Fla girl and had no problems there, but had a headache at Cuzco the entire time I was there. You have to fly from Lima to Cuzco to stage for the trip. Cuzco is much higher. I will say that Mt. Katahdin is almost as pretty and when you are on the top of Katahdin, looking towards the knife edge, it's a little like the views at Macchu Picchu. Still, a very spiritual sense at MP.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by SawnieRobertson View Post
    BTW, one of the companies which offers the tours suggests that those 65 and over should do the lesser 2-day hike.--Kinnickinic
    We actually had two ladies just at 70 in our group last year.

  12. #12

    Default Inca Trail tour companies

    Quote Originally Posted by sherrill View Post
    We actually had two ladies just at 70 in our group last year.
    My wife and I have decided to hike the Inca Trail, but have not yet decided which tour company to use. Do any of you have recommendations?
    Shutterbug

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    Registered User The Will's Avatar
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    Not specifically about the Inca Trail but an addendum to this thread for those who are interested in trekking in Peru in general...

    The Cordillera Huayhuash is magnificent and receives much less foot traffic than treks in the Cordillera Blanca. If your planning on trekking in Peru include this area in your research.

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    Garlic
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    If you speak a little Spanish, and can afford an extra day or two in Cuzco, do NOT sign up with a tour group in the States. Muy caro! Fly to Cuzco, hang out in the plaza, and the guides will find you and probably complete for your business. You may not get an English-speaking group, but that can really add to the fun. I found a group of young Argentinians looking to fill an open spot and it cost a whopping $60 for the trip, including food and the train ride back to town (1999). On the flight back to the US, I saw the same trip advertised for $1,200! It was the trip of a lifetime, that's for sure. One pass, I recall, was 14,000' which gave the coastal Argentinians some trouble, but I lived in Denver at the time and it was no problem. A couple of days in Cuzco beforehand will help, too.

    In 1999, El Sendero Luminoso was still active and killing tourists in the area, so I went with the local guide for safety. I don't think that's a concern any more, but I've also heard that hikers cannot go solo now. I don't know if or how that's enforced. Get the latest Lonely Planet guide for more info.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Will View Post
    Not specifically about the Inca Trail but an addendum to this thread for those who are interested in trekking in Peru in general...

    The Cordillera Huayhuash is magnificent and receives much less foot traffic than treks in the Cordillera Blanca. If your planning on trekking in Peru include this area in your research.
    The Cordillera Huayhuash does sound interesting. Is it possible for someone with very little Spanish? It seems more isolated than the Cordillera Blanca

    When I was in the Cordillera Blanca, I was with my ex-girl friend who had just lived for 2 years in Peru. She did the Machu Picchu trek and thought that the Cordillera Blanca was more beautiful. So far, the Cordillera Blanca is the most beautiful place I've ever been, and I've been a few places. The picture is Nevado Alpamyo, the most beautiful mountain in the world according the the Peruvians.

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    That should be spelled Nevado Alpamayo. If you go to Cuzco and can swing it, take a couple days (or weeks) in Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca -- not many Incan ruins, but magnificent mountains.

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