Inca Trail – The Rainy Season

Today was another early day as we were again awoken with coffee and tea at 5.30.  I had actually woken up at 4.30 and Lynn at 5.00 so we were wide awake and mostly packed by the time Luis came around. Matt and Joe were again late to breakfast but were quite insistent that we all wake up even earlier than the planned 3.30 am tomorrow so we could be the first ones into Macchu Picchu.  Yea right guys.

After breakfast we started our hike out of the valley and the rain really started.  Today we would learn what the rainy season in Peru was actually like after having been blessed with great weather so far.  Wearing our rain coats and rain pants we climbed more stairs to yet another mountain pass.  By the time we reached the top our rain coats were soaked through and I was pretty miserable.  Aldo suggested a natural overhang just on the other side of the pass where we could wait on the rest of the group.  Here I put on a heavy poncho that covered both me and my pack to hopefully keep everything a bit more dry.

We started the day off with a hummingbird sighting.  Not a bad start.
We started the day off with a hummingbird sighting. Not a bad start.
Lynn admiring the first ruin we came across in the fog.
Lynn admiring the first ruin we came across in the fog.
A better view of the ruin from above as we start our climb yet again.
A better view of the ruin from above as we start our climb yet again.
The stairs leading up to summit 2.  It was quite rainy by this point.
The stairs leading up to summit 2. It was quite rainy by this point.
There was a nice lake just before the top.  This is where Aldo's ghost story had taken place the night before.
There was a nice lake just before the top. This is where Aldo’s ghost story had taken place the night before.
The wet Inca Trail.  Not the easiest thing to walk on.
The wet Inca Trail. Not the easiest thing to walk on.

The way down the other side of the pass was still very rainy and we rolled into lunch camp thoroughly soaked and pretty miserable. We piled our packs in small corner of the mess tent and hung our drenched ponchos outside on some poles. While we warmed up and dried off we were luckily treated to a warming lunch of soups and delicious bean stews.  Thankfully, while we were at lunch the rain subsided and it was starting to even clear up by the time our siesta was over.

After lunch we had a very steep decent out of the mountains and Lynn stuck with me most of the way down the slippery rocks.  We stopped at some pretty amazing ruins right after lunch and they looked especially cool in the fog that hadn’t quite lifted yet.  Aldo explained that it had been a sun temple and a bit about the Incan religion before we continued on.

After summiting and heading back down we came upon more fog ruins.
After summiting and heading back down we came upon more fog ruins.
Michael and I had run down again and were the first ones there which meant lots of pictures without people.
Michael and I had run down again and were the first ones there which meant lots of pictures without people.
The fog definitely added to the atmosphere.
The fog definitely added to the atmosphere.
These holes in the rocks were for locking the doors to the temple.
These holes in the rocks were for locking the doors to the temple.
We will eventually walk to that other ruin site way down there.
We will eventually walk to that other ruin site way down there.
Lynn made it!
Lynn made it!

Lynn appreciated how much I pushed her (not literally) on the way down and we made good time.  Every few minutes we had to pull over to the side of the trail to let a herd of Chaskis barrel down the path.  They were fully loaded and wearing sandals and they took on the steep, wet rocks at a full run.  It was a hilarious contrast to how slowly and carefully we picked our way down.

All saddled up for the rain we headed off again to the next ruins.
All saddled up for the rain we headed off again to the next ruins.
Rainy ruins selfie!
Rainy ruins selfie!
Doug admiring the view of nothing from a view point.  The downside of the clouds was that almost every view point was worthless.  It did help hide the heights from Lynn though which she appreciated.
Doug admiring the view of nothing from a view point. The downside of the clouds was that almost every view point was worthless. It did help hide the heights from Lynn though which she appreciated.
The rain has thankfully subsided enough for us to shed the soaking wet ponchos.
The rain has thankfully subsided enough for us to shed the soaking wet ponchos.
The gang at another "view point."
The gang at another “view point.”
Lynn picking her way down the steps towards the ruins.
Lynn picking her way down the steps towards the ruins.
The third ruins of the day.  These were water fountains used for cleansing before ceremonies.
The third ruins of the day. These were water fountains used for cleansing before ceremonies.
These are the coolest ruins so far.  They were originally a temple to the sun.
These are the coolest ruins so far. They were originally a temple to the sun.
Lynn heading down through them.
Lynn heading down through them.
The Inca Trail carving through the forest.
The Inca Trail carving through the forest.
Doug posing on some steep steps.
Doug posing on some steep steps.
Lynn falling on some steep steps.  Luckily she just got a little muddy and was fine.
Lynn falling on some steep steps. Luckily she just got a little muddy and was fine.
More beautiful flowers.
More beautiful flowers.
As we came out of the clouds we were rewarded with beautiful views of the valley and river below us.
As we came out of the clouds we were rewarded with beautiful views of the valley and river below us.

We ended the hike down at some more ruins, this time of farming terraces that has been used to feed the population of Macchu Picchu which was now just around the mountain from where we were.  We rested for a while, taking silly pictures, and admiring the view while eating some delicious Peruvian chocolate before heading the last 30 minutes to camp.

These terraces are just around the mountain from Macchu Picchu and were used to feed its population.
These terraces are just around the mountain from Macchu Picchu and were used to feed its population.
And of course they had incredible views again.
And of course they had incredible views again.
If either of us used Instagram this picture would be on there.
If either of us used Instagram this picture would be on there.
Our campsite as seen from the terraces.  Still a ways down.
Our campsite as seen from the terraces. Still a ways down.
Lynn coming down the terraces.  If it's  not yet clear there were a lot of stairs today.
Lynn coming down the terraces. If it’s not yet clear there were a lot of stairs today.
Half the gang at the bottom.
Half the gang at the bottom.
One of the 380 species of orchid that lives in the park.
One of the 380 species of orchid that lives in the park.
The view from our tent.  Just ancient Incan ruins...no big deal.
The view from our tent. Just ancient Incan ruins…no big deal.

Once we got to camp, Aldo had a surprise for us, there were some more ruins just around the corner and they were easily the most spectacular we had seen so far.  And even better than that, just as we were headed out of them a herd of llamas burst on to the scene from our of the jungle.  They grazed on the grass growing on the terraces and were very patient of tourists trying to take selfies with them, except for one who spit at a woman.

We spent quite a while trying to get a good picture of me with one of them before deciding they were too interested in eating and calling it quits.  The whole thing was very cool though.  Llamas in ancient Incan ruins…how much more picture perfect could it be?

On the way to last ruins of the day we surprised some llamas.  Lynn is trying to pet it and it wants none of that.
On the way to last ruins of the day we surprised some llamas. Lynn is trying to pet it and it wants none of that.
By far the most impressive ruins we have seen thus far.
By far the most impressive ruins we have seen thus far.
Doug drinking them in.  Mmmhmmm.
Doug drinking them in. Mmmhmmm.
Lynn making fun of Doug wanting another Instagram picture.
Lynn making fun of Doug wanting another Instagram picture.
Headed down to the storage buildings.
Headed down to the storage buildings.
Doug tried a handstand but the sloping surface was too much and almost ended in disaster.
Doug tried a handstand but the sloping surface was too much and almost ended in disaster.
Senior pictures!
Senior pictures!
The sidewalls of the buildings had these outcroppings which we would later learn are for holding the thatch roof on.
The sidewalls of the buildings had these outcroppings which we would later learn are for holding the thatch roof on.
Lynn again wins.  Though to be fair she had level ground.
Lynn again wins. Though to be fair she had level ground.
How cute are we.
How cute are we.
Suddenly llamas!
Suddenly llamas!
This one is peeing and about to spit on that girl approaching for a selfie.
This one is peeing and about to spit on that girl approaching for a selfie.
It's like a movie.
It’s like a movie.
Llamas are indeed soft to touch and Lynn wants to cuddle them so much.
Llamas are indeed soft to touch and Lynn wants to cuddle them so much.
This is as close as she got.
This is as close as she got.
Llamas in ancient Incan ruins. Again, no big deal.
Llamas in ancient Incan ruins. Again, no big deal.
Doug trying to get close to pet one.
Doug trying to get close to pet one.
The llama did not cooperate.
The llama did not cooperate.

After all the excitement of llamas and ruins we settled down for one last dinner.  This time it was sadly a bit more disappointing and seemed to be mostly left overs and whatever hadn’t yet been used up.  To be fair we had been on the trail for three days so fresh vegetables were a little much to ask.  The chef had just been doing such a good job up to this point I think I had developed unreasonable expectations.

After dinner we had a good bye ceremony for the Chaskis and all chipped in for their tip.  It was here that we learned Matt, Joe, and Alessandro are huge cheapskates, to the point of being offensive.  Alessandro tipped just 15 soles ($5) for the Chaskis to split twelve ways.  This for people who had carried all of his food, tent, light, etc for three days. He then justified it by saying that maybe SAS should pay them more instead. Matt was just as bad, and he had even hired a porter to carry his stuff for him.  We all felt terrible for the Chaskis and Liz slipped in some extra money to try and compensate for these horrible people.

Back at camp, this building was a former bar and had seen better days.  It was now condemned.
Back at camp, this building was a former bar and had seen better days. It was now condemned.
Our final family dinner.
Our final family dinner.
And we celebrated almost being at the end of the trail with a drink for grape brandy which some poor Chaski had to carry all this way.
And we celebrated almost being at the end of the trail with a drink for grape brandy which some poor Chaski had to carry all this way.

We went to bed more than a little pissed off at how poorly these people had treated the Chaskis who had made their Inca Trail trip as amazing as it had been so far.

Daily Walking Mileage: 16 kilometers

Vertical Drop: 4,500 feet

Fun Facts:

  • If you’re paying $700 for a four day trek you should be able to tip more than $5.  Don’t instead complain about how you already paid $700 and you shouldn’t have to pay any more.  You have no idea what the costs of running these treks are.
  • The Chaskis make 50 soles ($15) per day and most of the them are farmers the rest of the year.
  • A very annoying Australian who brought his full size guitar on the Inca Trail is at a campsite near us. It seems he is determined to get the most out of his guitar since he brought it all this way and played bad covers of songs until late into the night.
  • There are over 380 species of orchid that live near Macchu Picchu.  They are all quite beautiful.

2 thoughts on “Inca Trail – The Rainy Season

    1. It was a team effort, Jon walked the steps to get the money so I could rob him of it to slip to Liz and then we all divided it up anyway… Warm and fuzzies for everyone 🙂

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