Travel | Peru - The Inca Trail Day One

By Issy Goode - 18:20

The beginning of our hike at Km82, walking along the Urubamba River and climbing to the hamlet of Huayllabamba

We woke up for a very early start with our 7kg holdall bags packed with everything we'd need at camp whilst our smaller back packs were filled with water, snacks, spare socks and some spare clothing if the weather turned. We weighed our bags due to the trail restrictions and briefly met our porters for the trip. 

The day before, during our tour of the Sacred Valley, Bobby had received a message from his wife, also a tour guide, advising him that a farmer had started a fire to fertilise his soil after the harvest but unfortunately it had got out of control. The fire was spreading right near Machu Picchu mountain and was a threat to our trip. It hung over us a little on that day and when we were told on the morning of our first day that the fire was still burning, all we could do was start the trip a little anxious.

On route we stopped again at Ollantaytambo for the porters to buy some last minute food where we also took the chance to buy a snack and have some coffee. We hopped back on the bus and headed on our way to our starting point, KM82. At the starting point Michael thought he'd give one of the porters' bags a try which was half the weight of me at 25kg. Whilst he managed to get it on, he was quite happy to take it off after a few moments! The porters would reach our lunch spot in half the time it would take us and with more than 20kg of extra weight on their shoulders too. 

We headed down to the check point where we showed our passports and our tickets for the Inca Trail. Onwards we went to have a photo at the KM82 starting point sign and before we knew it our hike on the first part of the Inca Trail had already begun! The first site we passed was named Camabamba, this was a resting place - it wasn't a campsite, more of what we'd call a modern day pit stop. The view was beautiful as we hiked and the climb so far wasn't too tough. Bobby took the lead and we all stayed close together, going at a fairly slow pace along the way.
A sign of the beauty to come.
A rather blurry photo of Camabamba - it actually ran alongside another Inca Trail on the other side. 
We met this beauty at one of the houses on the trail belonging to a local family. They also had chickens. He looked absolutely fierce for such a beautiful little kitten.
After the flat turned to 'Inca flat' which actually means really bloomin' steep then a little bit flat, we breathlessly reached the top of our first real hill. At the top of this was some small family houses where they were selling drinks, snacks and also offering a toilet stop. To Martin and Michael's delight, they also sold cold beers! Apparently this was one of the last Inca villages on the trail. 

We had another big hill ahead but the view when we reached the top was incredible. The mountains surrounded us and the snowcaps peeped up among the other mountains. Two horses grazed nearby and we followed Bobby around to the next Inca Site on the trail, Llaqtapata, which happened to be the biggest in Machu Picchu Park. I couldn't even describe this place with words, the photos show how incredible it was...
These two horses grazed just next to Llaqtapata. We passed some Donkeys on the way too all happily roaming the trail.
Here you can really see the scale of the houses in Llaqtapata. The structure in terms of the terraces was in some ways similar to that which we saw at Moray on The Sacred Valley Tour, however these were not for agricultural purposes but were means of defence instead.
It's hard to put the scale of the site in perspective in photos, but honestly it was simply incredible. 
Next to this Inca site was a pre-Inca site called Willkarakay, where Ann Kendal, initially a graduate when she first visited Peru for her studies, restored the water and brought it back to Llaqtapata to make running water available much like they had done in Inca times. The site in the above photo is shaped as such to protect it against flooding, the villagers would live within and down in the far right corner was the priests home. It was magnificent to see.

The hike continued and before long we'd arrived at our spot for lunch. As we came around the corner our porters clapped for us and whilst this was such a lovely way to arrive we couldn't understand why they would clap for us! They'd done all the hard work, all we'd done was hike and sight see!

The lunch we had was amazing and really was the start of things to come in terms of our meals. For starters we had asparagus soup followed by a selection of bread, ham, cheese and two different flavourings of guacamole. After being absolutely stuffed, we were poured a cup of cocotea to help with the altitude.
Post-lunch we relaxed for a short while, reapplied suncream and refilled our empty bottles. A little way into the beginning of our walk Bobby stopped us whilst he went to the next check point and then showed us a map of the second days walk:
In our itinerary from Exodus they quoted day two as the toughest, but Bobby's personal opinion was day three. As he's done the Inca Trail almost 700 times we trusted him! The second half of the hike is a bit of a blur, the sights continued to be beautiful but even at the time it seemed a blur to me. We were at a new camp in a few hours and our porters clapped us once more. Our tents were set up for us with the porters hard at work in the kitchen and around camp. We moved our bags inside and had a quick wash, then we were called into the tent for snack time which was copious amounts of popcorn that we wolfed down.

For dinner on the first evening we had soup to start, with locally sourced trout and rice for dinner followed by Banana Flambane for dessert. We couldn't believe we were on our way into the mountains and this was the kind of food we were being served - you'd never have that if I was the chef on a camping trip!
After dinner we came outside to the most beautiful sky. There was no light pollution apart from the minimal amount from the torches in our camp, but once they went out the view was breathtaking. Staring up at the Milky Way was the perfect way to end our first day of the trail...
Our sleep that night was a little restless. The cold was biting and even with loads of layers and a sleeping bag done all the way up over my face I was so cold. At one point in the middle of the night I needed the toilet and I absolutely had to go. Coldest peeing experiencing of my life!

On that note, there ends day one! It's hard to put a hike into words when I didn't make as many notes as I intended. It's been a few months now since Peru and I'm sad the memories are already becoming muddled within my busy work and home life. I'm clinging on to what I can, but the photos really do most of the talking!

Come back soon for Inca Trail Day Two - featuring Dead Woman's Pass, 4,200 m high views and much more beautiful scenery! 
MissIsGoode

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8 comments

  1. Wow, these photos are unreal! It sounds like you had an incredible time. I'd love to visit Peru and the Inca Trail one day. I can't wait to read more about your trip. Also, I'd LOVE to see the sky so clearly one day, how beautiful.

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

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    1. Thanks Hannah! I should have taken the time to edit them really but there's just so many! I wold 100% recommend you go, it's just breathtaking. Thank you - there's still plenty more to come!

      xx

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  2. Those views are absolutely breathtaking! I would so love going on a trip like that, although I am not fan of camping, but for those views it might just be worth it!! :)

    Lii
    https://byliil.wordpress.com/

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    1. They really were so much more stunning in real life - whilst the photos look incredible they do no justice to the sheer scale of the things we saw! I'm not a huge fan of camping and I have to say that was probably the most difficult part for me which must sound ridiculous! But it really was so worth it for the views!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and having a read 😊 Xx

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  3. Wow, it's absolutely beautiful! I can just imagine your cold and restless night though, yikes! Hopefully it was worth it overall!

    www.jeannieinabottleblog.com

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! It truly was incredible. Yep, it wasn't all that pleasant at night time! But 100% worth it! X

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  4. You're such an adventurer, it looks amazing!! The photos you've taken are so, so beautiful as well. It looks so picturesque. The milky way photos as well, just wow. I bet that was an amazing feeling relaxing after a long day hiking! xx

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    1. I've only become one this year actually, though I've really been missing out! Thank you - I really should get around to editing them all properly but there's just so many! It was truly beautiful. We were lucky to catch such good photos of the Milky Way - my camera is by no means a top class one but it really worked well on a long exposure, I owe most of the photos to my boyfriend though as he had more patience than I did!

      I'd say sleeping in a bed on day four was probably the most relaxing moment!

      Thanks for stopping by as always! :) xx

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