This morning, we were introduced to our porters. They have a very strict hierarchy and each individual has a very specific list of things they’re responsible for carrying / sorting out. Leandro the chef is in overall charge.
As usual in these situations, they had highly unsuitable footwear for carrying large loads on slippery paths….
We had been told on Day 1 that an Inca Trail marathon was run 4 years ago. One of the Inca Trail porters won it in a time of 3 hours 40-odd minutes. This initially sounded completely impossible, though having seen the porters literally running the downhill sections on slippery paths/steps, carrying huge loads and wearing sandals, who knows what a load-free porter in trainers could achieve……
Day 2 is the day everyone says is the most difficult. It’s a very long climb from the valley floor up to the unhelpfully named Dead Woman’s pass….
Each day we got a piece of fruit to eat on the way. Today’s was a passion fruit. I’d never eated a passion fruit as a whole piece of fruit before. Here it is with my rucksack for scale. The texture was interesting….
Wilson the guide cheered us all up no end by telling us all about another death on the Inca Trail. On Day 1 he’d told us about the girl who took a Selfie on the trail then continued walking as she looked to see if she could get a signal to upload the photo. The path went round a 90 degree bend; she didn’t. Apparently it took 2 weeks to find her body. Today, we added Murder on the Inca Trail – the general topic was the characteristics of different nationalities of tourists… Wilson pointed out that the Israelis are the most difficult. One even brought a gun, murdered his wife in the tent, then claimed some robber had done it before running off over the mountain…… “Death on the Inca Trail” was to become a daily occurrence in our lives from now on. Two weeks did seem to be the standard amount of time required to find bodies (except for the one in the tent, which we guessed was found about 30 seconds after the murder by an eager porter itching to get the tents packed away and scamper off at ridiculous speed to the next camp site).
After our snack stop, it was onwards and upwards…… The last hour to the pass was marked by everyone slowing down as the air became noticeably thin, and torrential rain.
As we reached the top, we came across two of our porters huddled under a tarpaulin waiting for us with hot tea and rum! Ritu declined the rum – a sure sign that she was suffering from altitude sickness at this stage…. She had told me to look out for irrational behaviour……
The way down was quite slippery in the rain, but thankfully nowhere near as long as the way up. Needless to say, we were overtaken by a multitude of scampering porters….
We headed down carefully to our next camp site in the valley before Pass 3….
Once again, we were very well fed at the campsite, and were in bed at 8pm (it being dark and there being nothing else to do).