SV/Cusco/Inka Trail/MP

Old May 21st, 2010, 10:54 AM
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SV/Cusco/Inka Trail/MP

My husband and I (ages 49 and 52) got back last week from a 12-day trip to Peru. We had a wonderful time. Some highlights/details:
We got into Lima at 11 pm, spent the night at the Ramada just across the street from the airport (took the 2nd. floor walkway over, avoiding the taxi operators), very easy and nice though expensive. Next morning had a lovely flight on LanPeru to Cusco, were met by Percy Salas who took us to Pisac (saw some of the ruins, not many as it was our first day at altitude), had lunch there off the square and then on to Ollantaytambo. We stayed at Apu Lodge, $50 per night, very quiet location at the edge of the small town (a couple from S. Africa helped us with our luggage since it's on a pedestrian street though we could have managed ourselves). The next day with Percy we toured the ruins there, as well as Maras and Moray. The next morning Rick went biking with KB tours, right on the square and had a great time, and in the afternoon we went by Chinchero on our way to Cusco. After living in Colorado for 4 years, one thing I know - I do very poorly with altitude while Rick never feels a thing. That's why we started in the SV, then worked our way up to Cusco. Even so, I felt bad and could barely eat for almost 2 days, even though I was on Diamox. I'd rather have had it there at the very nice Rumi Punku hotel (I think $85 per night) than hiking the Inca Trail. We hit some of the archeological sites around Cusco as well as the Sun Temple, and on Sunday Rick enjoyed horseback riding. We hiked with Peru Treks, and they did a very nice job - good communications throughout (and this was a tough year with the mudslides and all), very organized, good equipment, good guides. It was fabulous, though tough, and definitely worth it. The ruins and scenery throughout were spectacular. 3 very nice days, one day of mist and light rain (the cloud forest day, so no surprise). Then 2 days of Machu Picchu in the sun - incredible site in incredible surroundings. Our big splurge was one night at the Sanctuary Lodge, and was I glad we did it. After we said goodbye to the others on the hike (we were from all over the world, an interesting crew) we had a delicious lunch followed by a shower and a nap, and then back out to MP just steps away. The next day we spent mostly at MP (we both felt it deserved at least a full day or two half days), then bussed down to Agua Calientes where we had pizza for dinner. Trained/bussed back to Cusco, where we spent the night at Rumi Punku and picked up our luggage, and the next day flew to Lima and then on home. We were very satisfied and happy with our adventure.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Nice report thanks for posting.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 06:30 PM
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Rick and Pat,

Thanks for the report. We will hike the Inca Trail in July and are really looking forward to it, but I'm worried about the 4000 foot climb on the second day. We are just about your age (well--I tiny bit older)--and I've been worried about how difficult it will be because of the altitude. It seems to me that even if you are fairly well acclimated, the thinner air will make it very difficult--there's less oxygen for the muscles, after all.

What did you do to prepare? Or maybe you are both really fit--running up and down mountains in Colorado possibly??

Would love any input you can give me. (We've been hiking up some fairly steep "mountains" here in the Bay Area, and even at sea level, I feel like I have to slow down quite a bit on a steep climb. Seems like I'd be down to a slow crawl at 14,000 feet!)
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 10:10 AM
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Rick and Pat,
Thanks for the report. Friend and I are heading to MP midJune. Am so ready!! What kinds of packing changes, if any, did you have to make for what could go to MP? What went into the pared down pack? Most importantly, what kind of footwear would you recommend for someone with wobbly ankles (both have been broken and rebuilt...) Reading your report is a great tantalizer!
Thanks, Deb
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 01:55 PM
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Caligirl56: We have lived for 18 years in Southcentral Michigan, which is flat - beautiful lakes, but no mountains. Though we do hiking trips a few times a year, admittedly most of our exercise is walking/running at home, pilates, swimming, Rick bikes. On the Inca Trail everyone goes at their own pace on that second day in particular (not that we are herded terribly the other days), and even the guys who had never really hiked before made it - it just took them a few more hours. Most important tip, is to spend at least two nights in Cusco beforehand to acclimate, 3 if you can swing it.

Deb: We did carefully repack the night before the hike. Rick had a full pack, I hired a third of a porter. We kept it pretty basic - water system, camera, flashlight and batteries, clothes for a day or two of layers - t-shirt/long sleeve shirt/fleece layers - zip-off pants, gloves and hat, sunscreen and insect repellant (though we didn't have any troubles with insects), good hiking socks. I took a pair of light-weight tevas to give my feet a break from the boots. Rick has weak ankles, and I wasn't sorry to have light-weight hiking boots with ankle support (not the heavy-duty type), our feet stayed dry despite a bit of rain one day. Don't forget hiking poles, or at least buy a cheap walking stick - they really help the knees and ankles, esp. downhill. We also took books though there wasn't a lot of time to read. I wish I had included my MP guidebook since we spent the extra day there. Your company should have a list for you, just keep the weight down, you won't be sorry. Everything we didn't take stayed for free at our Cusco hotel.
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