Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Prepare for the Inca Trail - Important facts for getting ready for this awesome hike!

A street in Ollantaytambo
How to Prepare for the Inca Trail

Hiking the Inca Trail is an experience of a lifetime, and preparing is part of the adventure. This program includes three days of pre-hikes to help you acclimatize to the altitude and terrain of the trail, and the following information will help you get ready before your departure.

*** Break in your boots well in advance of your departure. Wear your boots on the flight or pack them in your carry-on bag in case luggage is lost or delayed.***

• Incorporate some form of cardio exercise, 45 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week for at least 8 to 12 weeks prior to your trip. We suggest running, walking, or biking or a StairMaster.
• Prepare for the extreme ups and downs of the hike by training across a variety of terrains such as hills or using a treadmill incline.
• Practice yoga or some form of core strengthening exercise.


• Small day pack to carry your rain gear, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, water bottles or CamelBak 
• Hiking boots that are well worn in 

• Hiking poles are provided by our operator for the entire program
• A pair of comfortable shoes, sandals or crocs to wear around the camp
• One complete change of clothing per day including pants, t-shirts, socks, and underwear. Some have

   suggested only 2 pair of zip-off hiking pants  
• Fleece and down jacket
• Gloves and a warm hat
• Warm fleece pants for evening
• Personal toiletries, including baby wipes, and medications
• Camera gear with enough charged batteries for the entire hike
• Flashlight and batteries

There is no need to bring energy bars or snacks; plenty of food and snacks will be provided for the entire hike.

You will be limited to no more than 8 kg/17.6 lbs (minus the weight of the sleeping bag - approx. 1.6 lb) on the Inca Trail. The site coordinator in Peru will supply large duffel bags to pack your clothes and gear in for the hike. Professional porters will carry the bags during the Inca Trail hikes and the remaining luggage will be stored at the hotel in Cuzco. You will not be able to access this duffel bag until you reach the evening camp so be sure that you have all that need for the day in your day pack each morning before heading out.


Day 1: Chillca - Huayllabamba Total distance: 7.8 miles
Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 9,842 feet

Day 2: Huayllabamba - Pacaymayo Total distance: 5.5 miles
Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 13,779 feet

Day 3: Pacaymayo - Phuyupatamarka Total distance: 5 miles
Estimated walking time: 7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 12,795 feet

Day 4: Phuyupatamarka - Machu Picchu Total distance: 7 miles
Estimated walking time: 5 hours
Maximum altitude point: 11,811 feet


Altitude at the Inca Trail ranges from 7,790 feet to 13,780 feet.
Upon arrival at altitudes above 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet, shortness of breath and a pounding heart are normal responses to the lack of oxygen in the air. However, for some visitors, these symptoms can deteriorate into a condition known as Soroche or acute mountain sickness. Headache, extreme tiredness, nausea and loss of appetite are standard symptoms. Take it easy upon arrival and drink the coca tea provided. Oxygen is readily available for more severe reactions and is also available on the Inca Trail.
Staying hydrated and well rested is important to adjusting to the altitude. Avoiding heavy, fatty foods and alcohol in the days before arriving to altitude can also help and is highly recommended. It’s also advisable to avoid sleep medications, as they can slow breathing and respiration, which aid in getting the blood oxygenated during sleeping.


Months                       Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. Max Temp ºF  68  70  70   72   70   70  70  70   72   72  73  72
Avg. Min Temp ºF   45  45  45   40   36   34  30  34   40   43  43  45
Wet days / month  18  13  11   8     3     2    2    2    7     8    12  16

Friday, May 11, 2012

The first Road Scholar group made it!!!

The first group of brave Road Scholar hikers has successfully finished the program!
WOW! what a great bunch of hikers! This is a shot of the main group making the pass at Abra Warmwañuska, Dead Woman's Pass, 13,774 ft. This is no easy feat and they made it ahead of schedule! Drink lots of water this day, pace yourself, stop briefly to get your breath but not for long periods and you will conquer this beast! Of course, adrenaline is going to help a bit but hiking up hill all day is going to take some pretty serious training on your part. You begin this day from the valley in the background for an elevation gain of approx. 4,200 ft in less than 4 1/2 miles! When you have conquered this pass you have completed the most difficult part of the Inca Trail!

There were 11 participants that made the hike and the average age was 67! 

The night before the hike begins your guide will feature an orientation of the hike with the group, going over the elevations and conditions that are covered each day. It's a great chance to see pictures of the trail again and discuss any questions or concerns you may have. The guide will pace you and advise you along the way as to stops and how long each leg of the hikes will be, etc. The scenery is fantastic so be sure to keep your camera handy if you want to document the trek. I used a small SeaLine drybag waistpack and kept this around my waist just in case of showers but many of our group used point and shoot cameras and kept these in the waistpocket of their daypacks.