Inca Trail, Day 3

Our second night was pretty cold. We awoke on the morning of Day 3 to great views all round.

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This was a big day – Ritu’s birthday! Unfortunately for low-key Ritu, a sharp-eared member of the group (who must’ve been lurking right outside our tent at the time) heard the very quiet and off-key “Happy Birthday” coming from my sleeping bag first thing in the morning. It was decided by the group that we needed to ensure that the guides were well aware of the special occasion, just in case there were any goodies to be had, so we all sang Happy Birthday at breakfast (subtle, eh?). The guides then sang in Spanish and attempted to get the porters to sing in Quechua. The first two porters they collared came over all shy and ran away. The third, Rafael (the youngest porter and general fetcher and carrier, who the guides delighted in calling to the tent whenever anything was needed at mealtimes by shouting “mozo!” – “waitress!”) came over all shy and went to find some friends to help as he couldn’t possibly sing on his own. Eventually the big boss, chef Leandro, was called in and instructed to round up some porters and tell them there was no lunch or dinner if they didn’t sing…. They did their sheepish-looking best….

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We then set off up pass 2 which was quite steep with some very high stone steps in places.

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Part way up we came to the ruins of Runkuraqay, complete with store rooms and useful look-out posts over the Inca Trail we’d come down from Dead Woman’s Pass and another one coming up the valley to our previous night’s camp site.

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Then off we went, onward up some more steps and past a tarn to the top of the pass where we had our snack stop. I didn’t take a photo as today’s fruity snack was an apple…..

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From the pass, we headed down some uneven stone steps, across to some ruins at Sayaqmarka, then down and past more ruins at Qochamarka. We had a look round Sayaqmarka – very impressive.

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From here, the climb to Pass 3 was long and so gradual that it was hardly noticeable. We went throug a section of rainforest, which gave us a chance to see orchids and various mosses.

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We had a late lunch on arrival at the camp site – with chips! We had tea & biccies late afternoon, followed by a film! Wilson hung his Toshiba Ipad lookalike from a tentpole, connected it to a tiny Bluetooth speaker, and we watched documentary about the Spanish conquest of Peru (an episode from the Jared Diamond Guns, Germs and Steel series).

After a short break, we reconvened for tea – to find that the tent had been decorated with streamers…. Ritu had to be last to enter, then the chefs appeared with a birthday cake, music was fired up on the little speaker, and George the second guide did a frighteningly convincing pole dancing impression round the vertical pole at the entrance to the tent (thankfully keeping his weight firmly on the ground!). There was even wine (2 litres, no less)!

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After all that excitement, we headed off to our sleeping bags – no doubt the earliest Ritu has retired on her birthday for some decades…….

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