Leading up to trekking the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu, we felt pretty nervous. Is the altitude going to get to us? Are we in shape enough? What unknown elements are out there? Can we do this? No. Kinda, not really. A bunch. Yes!
Curt Schilling pitching in the World Series with a bloody sock? Was that really even blood, Curt? Michael Jordan scoring 35 with the flu in game 5 of the ’97 finals? Admirable. Keri Strung helping Team USA to Gold in the ’96 Olympics with a sprained ankle? Courageous. Philp Rivers playing QB in the AFC title game with a torn ACL? Gritty. Skyler Maiman trekking the Inka Trail with a severe case of food poisoning, Peruvian stomach break dancing, or whatever name you want to add to the worst feeling possible? Heroic.
OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but up until 3 hours before we had to be at our 4:30am start time, Skyler was ridden with a fever, chills and a serious case of “I hope we get our money back if we can’t do this.” Fortunately, Leah’s nursing skills, fate and some mental toughness allowed us to proceed on what was easily one of, if not the, hardest things either of us have ever done. Asking that much of your body and mind is truly an experience we won’t forget. However, the trek itself, wasn’t either, and we can’t imagine how it will be topped.
The pictures we have don’t do it justice. With a mystic fog framing the Andes Mountains, we hiked the same trail that the Inka’s built over 800 years ago. The stunning backdrops that you only read about in novels inspired us to see how the next day would unfold. We camped alongside a group of four other trekkers and a host of porters, a chef and our guide who navigated this treacherous real estate like a bunch of Gazelle’s. Among our fellow Australians, a Canadian, an Indonesian and Peruvians, sleeping in the jungle without any amenities, we carried through during endless bouts of rain with the entire contents for our trip on our backs. The entire trek was 46 Kilometers (or 28 miles), which included a handful of unbelievable Inka sites where we learned a great deal about how noble, efficient and trailblazing this civilization was for the 100 years they were in existence.
If you’re thinking about doing this, do it! And please pick our brains leading up to it. There are things that looking back we wish we would have brought and done differently. Even with the extreme, and we mean extreme, difficulty this trek offered, the views, the experience and the sense of achievement are unparalleled.
Or to put it in our guides’ words, this experience was “Mucho WowWow.”