Friday September 12th
Continued from previous post.
Our trek up to this point was a combination of up and down and took us about 4 hours to get to the lunch spot, it was a beautiful walk, less stressful today because we didn’t have to climb 4000 feet in a few hours. Although we had a combination of up and down, it was mostly downhill and I don’t mean a nice meandering walk down a hill, it was brutal, sometimes as much as 15 degrees decline through an uneven, loose and rocky trail for 3 hours straight. I don’t think we could have ordered a better day today, the sun was shining, the temperatures was around 65. I am running out of words to use to describe the beauty of this place, I may need to rewrite this after I get a thesaurus.
The day started out so nice, then a terrible accident
You have to know that the Inca Trail is cut out along the mountainside, and at times there are places where the trail is no more than 3 feet wide before the trail falls off the side of the mountain. Our dear friend Sandra slipped and fell, off the trail, down the side of the mountain, about 10 – 12 feet through the vegetation, before she was able to stop the fall by catching the walking stick she has been using, onto a bamboo tree. She scrapped up her knee and sprained her ankle. When your on the Inca Trail, there is only one way off, you walk forward or backward, no one is going to come and rescue you.
Thankfully we had some first aid materials and of all the things we had, was an ankle air cast that Peter brought for himself. It took a while but we were able to get Sandra back on the trail, wrapped up and moving forward. She is such a trooper, Nico (Guide) asked if she wanted the Porters to carry her and she declined, she wanted to do this. Sandra showed such strength and perseverance to get up and get moving again.
It was decided that Nico would take 4 of the hikers with him, while Sandra, Christy, Patrick and I stayed back with Hernan (Guide) this allowed us to go much slower to help Sandra if need be. This slower pace actually made me pay more attention to my surroundings, I saw more, experienced more of where I was and what I was seeing and doing. I suppose I owe Sandra a big thank you for that, but it feels strange to say Thanks for falling off the mountain.
At this point we still had a few hours to go to get to camp, Sandra was so strong. At times the pain must have been unbearable, you could see the tears in her eyes, but she kept moving, doing everything she could to not be a burden on other people. She refused help, I can tell she can be one stubborn lady, but I believe there is a fine line between stubborn and proud, today I think I was witnessing how proud a woman she really is. I learned something from this unfortunate experience Sandra was going through.
I learned to slow down, be patient, enjoy the experience that I am going through. Up to this point, I thought, “let’s go do this”, the whole motivation was about “getting to Machu Picchu”, not the experience of GETTING there. My viewpoint changed on this day. I watched a woman drive through the pain, the embarrassment, the fear to reach her goal, there is a lesson for everyone here.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot that the process of getting there is as important as your destination, in this case; Machu Picchu. Sandra’s unfortunate experience, brought that home for me and made me realize that I am a fortunate man to be here, right now, living this exceptional experience, I can not forget to embrace the experience of this trek.
There is more to this day, last night at camp, Nico explained that our next camp site we would have the ability to take a hot shower, now it has been 3 days and I must say everyone likes this idea. I am sure we all smell a little ripe, the only good news is that we ALL smell a little ripe, so it doesn’t bother any one person more than the others. We were also told that there is a small market there and we would be able to buy ourselves an ICE COLD BEER. This was met with cheers from all. So, we made an agreement between us all, who ever arrives at Camp first, will get enough beers for everyone. I tell you this because this is the second lesson I learned on this trip, although I didn’t learn it right away.
4:30 p.m., we finally arrived to camp, Camp Winawayna, the others have already been here for a bit and camp was set up. For the last 30 minutes, I have been thinking about an Ice Cold Beer, we arrive and I yell out wheres my beer? Only to be told there isn’t any for us, but the others had their beers! I have to say, I was pissed off, and I acted like a child not getting a toy. It wasn’t exactly that we didn’t get a beer or couldn’t get our own, it was that the others were drinking theirs and the reason we didn’t get any was they “couldn’t carry it up the hill”.
Now we have been trekking up and down the Andes for 3 days, and someone couldn’t carry a beer about 100 yards up a hill, after all we had an agreement. And I unfortunately took it out on one particular person, I regret that to this day. This person is a very dear friend of mine and I said and did things that I am not proud of, I hurt her feelings and I am very sorry that ever happened. But this is the lesson, friendship transcends beer, if I can throw away a friendship over a silly insignificant item like that, what does that say about me. Today I can look back and realize I was an ass to treat her that way, she is still one of my best friends and we have had other arguments, but I will always remember to forgive and forget the small things and apologize when it is the right thing to do.
Patrick and I dropped our belongings and went down the hill to our first hot shower in 3 days, well not exactly hot, but warmer than cold. The showers were nothing more than a stall with a shower curtain, they were dirty, and the water sort of just dripped out, but wow, it was like Heaven. We also sat around the little market drinking some really good cold beer, we also brought some back for Sandra, Christy, Nico and Hernan. Today’s trek was the longest of the last 3 days and seemed to have taken a toll on everyone. Aside from just being plain tired, we all seem to be suffering from a great deal of pain as well, along with short tempers. Everyday for our “Happy Hour” we all seem to be less happy. But you can see it on everyone’s face, when is this going to be over. I know it is nothing more than being tired. On this night we all crashed right after dinner, around 7 p.m.
Tomorrow is our Big Day, and we have been told we must be up, packed and on the trail before sunrise.
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