After 2 or 3 times of packing and unpacking, I just go with the last bunch of things I've decided on in my duffel (18 lbs) and I know it will not be enough. I'm so excited I really don't care and would have traveled in the same clothes for 4 days to do this hike! really!!!
I would bring one more complete change of lightweight clothes for the last day in my backpack were I to do it again because of obvious reasons. This is tough and you are going to sweat, a lot! Rain gear is a must, you never know in the Andes and you are in a cloud forest. One of the best things I did bring though was a down vest that kept my core warm and dry and mashed down to nothing in packing. And my shoes, of course, the single most important thing to get right, were waterproof and comfortable.
We transfer from the Sacred Valley to the town of Ollantaytambo, where we have breakfast before arriving to the trail head. The town is bustling in the early morning as other porters are waiting for their groups to arrive. Vendors are setting up for business and the smell of breakfast is in the air. This is also an excellent place to get last minute supplies, snacks, memorable photos.
There is an incredible fortress in this town that served as a stronghold for the Manco Inca Yupanqui in the final days of the Spanish conquest. This impressive archaeological site can be visited if you stay in Ollantaytambo a day before the trek or after. It is incredibly beautiful and not to be missed! Full of history and an amazing architectural feat of the Inca. It is also located in a town of original dwellings of ancient Inca times, still inhabited today.
The trail evens out and it's flat and easy hiking for awhile. There are small houses along the way and villagers along the trail transporting animals and goods.
What a site for a lunch stop!
but it just gets better!
|Stuffed avocado & papas rellenas!|
Powdered Gatorade is available, btw to add to your water. Coffee and coca tea for breakfast and iced orange tea are also offered.
We begin hiking again and hike for approx 1 hour and 45 minutes to our first campsite at Huayabamba, 9,777 ft.
This campsite marks the last place where people inhabit the trail and animals can be brought onto the trail. It also marks the place where up to this point, the guide reserves the right to send an unqualified, injured or sick hiker back out of the Inka Trail park to the entrance.
The reason this is worth mentioning is that this is the last day that a person can be transported out on an mule or horse and if there is an injury after this point the hiker would have to be carried by the porters if they were not able to walk on their own. The other very important reason is that if the hiker is sent back it is at their own expense.
A word here about the campsite and conveniences. The toilet tents are set up at each camp by the porters. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer are provided. There will be a mens' and womens' tent set up for the groups, as well.