Everyone I’ve talked to who has done the Inca Trail says that day two is the hardest of the Inca Trail. This is the day that you hit the highest point of the trail at a whopping 13,829 ft! We felt every bit of that as we struggled to breathe up the mountain. Three of us hiked together, taking about 50-100 steps (depending on how high we were) then taking a brief breathe break.
When we woke up early the second morning I was tired, sure, but I was really happy to have woken up in the mountains. I was a little less excited when it was pointed out to me that we were hiking to “the nipple”. (The high point of the trail is called Dead Woman’s Pass because it looks like a woman laid on her back, topless- hence, “the nipple”.)
We started off strong and excited to see what was ahead of us. This was the day that we realized just how hard it was to breathe at this elevation. Sure, day one had its moments where catching our breath was more difficult and we weren’t hiking as fast as normal, but this was the day that I felt every single step.
We made an early morning crossing over the river on this very rustic bridge! (You can tell it was early because I don’t look like I might cry at this point! Ha!)
The only hummingbird we saw on the trail. This guy was quick!
We made it! Jojo (our amazing new friend from D.C.), Stacey and I made it to the top. It was a struggle, but also a moment of joy and accomplishment!
From the top, it was a long way down lots and lots and lots of steps. These steps aren’t your normal steps (which would be bad enough) they’re uneven, misshapen, stone steps laid out centuries ago! But we were so relieved to be going downhill that it didn’t even matter!
Mark Adams said it well in his book Turn Right At Machu Picchu, “The Inca trail is like the narrative of Alice in Wonderland– dreamlike and open to interpretation. In which case crossing Dead Woman’s Pass was the moment we fell down the rabbit hole. Things only got strange from this point forward.” Day three was a completely different day. It was a weird day for me, personally, the mood and pace of the trip changed, and we were officially in the Upper Amazon. Talk about falling through the rabbit hole- I WAS IN THE AMAZON!
We were the last to make it to camp, but I was totally okay with that. We took our time, had plenty of moments to look back and enjoy the view, and we didn’t wear ourselves out to the point that we were miserable. We did it in the perfect time for us.
We didn’t make it to happy hour, but we did enjoy our amazing dinner, and we got to see this spectacular sunset over the Andes. I mean, does it get any better than this?
Things I Loved About Day Two:
✴︎ I truly enjoyed taking in the ever-changing views from this day
✴︎ I loved walking off the trail to stand on a stone in the middle of the river to take some photos
✴︎ I loved making new friends on the trail. We got to know Jojo, who was really great, and we made friends with a pair of Italian sisters as we took turns passing each other- one was doing it without a porter, I was seriously impressed.
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