I am okay at walking. I am resilient. I am young. HOW HARD CAN IT BE?
This is the extent of my preparation for the Inca Trail. In hindsight I should’ve also done some PHYSICAL preparation. You know. Like… training. And stuff.
The Inca Trail is a three-day, three-night walk through the mountains of Cusco, Peru, South America. It starts in Ollantaytambo, a one-shop town three hour’s drive from the city of Cusco, and finishes in the World Heritage listed ancient city of Macchupicchu.
The Bucket List is an interesting thing: a comprehensive list of things you should do just for the sake of doing those things; so you can say you've done them; so you can give them an imaginary 'tick' on your lifelong 'to-do' list.
Any world traveller has the Inca Trail/Macchupicchu on their bucket list. It's up there with The Great Wall of China. And seeing snow. Just because. These seem to be things people do. So, when we planned to go to South America, it quickly became the focal point of our trip.
Seriously how hard can it be? Like, come on. Let's be real it's a WALK. I CAN WALK. I walk to AND from work every day. I'll just listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast and learn about Acroyoga or Vietnamese and it'll go super fast. Take some photos on the way, badda-bing-bada-boom we'll be in Macchupicchu before we know it.
DAY 1 - Milhouse Hostel, Cusco, Peru.
0200 - In hostel. Unable to sleep. Sweating. Also freezing. Consider pulling out of trek.
0230 - Decide I've committed too much. Not sure why. I've literally done zero preparation. I think it was 'The Bucket List' factor. More sweating. Pray to God I'm fine in an hour.
0330 - Not fine.
0345 - Diagnose myself with fever. Re-consider pulling out of trek. Come to conclusion I couldn't deal with travel buddies teasing me.
0412 - I've got goosebumps but it's hot af. Shower. Consider faking own death.
0420 - Shower.
0435 - Get out of shower. Cold. Get back in.
0520 - Try to sleep in car on way to start point. Forgot I can't sleep in cars. Goosebumps. Starts raining.
0730 - Torrential rain. Stop at last shop before leaving civilisation. Want to vomit. Buy poncho, gatorade and leg warmers (read: tights). Watch travel buddies eat pancakes inside cafe/shack. Make mental note to be extra grateful next time I don't feel like spewing. Sip gatorade. Text Mother:
About to go out of phone reception for three days. Want to die. So sick. Fever etc. Goodbye. Maybe forever.
0930 - Arrive at start point. 45 Km to Macchupicchu. Put on tights under walking shorts. Tear walking shorts in process. Decide to do entire trek in just tights. Find hole under bum area in new tights. Get laughed at by travel buddies. And guide. Put on spare shorts over tights. Contemplate why bad things happen to good people.
1000 - Compulsory start of trail photo. Three panadol. Antibiotics. Cautiously optimistic.
1020 - Outlook: positive. Strolled up small hill. Pausing at top for water. Manageable so far. Maybe can do this.
1130 - Definitely cannot do this. Small hill is now big hill.
1500 - Not speaking out of genuine fear spew will come out. Also dizzy. Begin to regret amount of previous thought given to altitude sickness (none). Currently 4000m above sea level.
1730 - Arrive at first camp site. Eat mouthful of plain rice. Give up and go to bed. Many bugs in tent. Think about showers. Wonder if euthanasia legal in Peru.
DAY 2 - 34 Km to Macchupicchu.
0530 - Wake up. Brief few seconds of contentment. Remember am on Inca Trail.
0545 - 'Breakfast'. Can't stomach food. Sit and watch buddies eat. More tea.
0615 - Dress for day. Fresh underwear. Same shorts. Same t-shirt. T-shirt still wet (#sweat) from day before, but saving clean one for emergency. Notice view. Pretend I don't need bathroom, as not willing to trudge through ankle deep pool of human excrement to hole-in-ground that makes drop toilets seem glorious. Convince myself to take photo of pretty view. Because it's pretty. And a view. And #bucketlist.
0630 - Listen to briefing for day. "This is hardest day". Consider turning back to start.
0645 - Realise already walking. Cannot turn back. Rain begins. Poncho futile.
0800 - Face wet. Hair wet. Shoes carrying enough water to sustain small country for brief period. Socks drenched. Seek refuge undercover at toilet stop. So does everyone else on trail. Need bathroom.
1000 - Rain heavy af. Want to vomit. Soaking wet. Need to poo. Still walking. Steep uphill.
1100 - See previous.
1153 - Floodgates are opening. Repeat, floodgates are opening. Dart onto side of mountain. Find bush cover. Drop pants, squat etc. Note to self that this is first poo I've ever done out of toilet (since nappies). Congratulate self. Almost fall down hill. Thank previous Luca for foreseeing this situation and packing toilet paper.
1320 - Stairs. Steeeeeeeeeep. No oxygen. Too high. Thoughts no longer logic. One step long time very slow.
1400 - Reach peak of trail. Hear someone mutter "It's mostly downhill from here". Regret not packing Razor scooter. Compulsory 'highest point of Inca Trail' photo. Pretend to be focusing on scenery. Really focusing on not pooing myself.
1530 - Lose travel buddies in fog. Decide I'm Bear Grylls. Document mood:
The video I took at this exact moment. Post continues after video...
1700 - Arrive at final campsite. Many families of llama. Pitch tents in llama poo. Become one with llama poo. Explain to llamas tents are NOT for them.
1800 - Travel buddies nom chicken curry. And corn. Almost vomit on table. Bite of rice. Sleeping pills. Bed. Can't sleep. Smells like am inside llama's anus.
DAY 3 - Final day. 17 Km to Macchupicchu.
0200 - Awoken by bowels. They aren't happy. Rummage through tent to find iPhone torch. iPhone off. Turn on. Stumble to makeshift toilet with iPhone light.
0300 - More squatting. Nothing result.
0400 - Give up. Return to tent. Step in llama poo. Wish I could make poo like llama.
0550 - Woken by guide to what is honestly the most amazing view I've ever witnessed. How are we ABOVE THE CLOUDS. LIKE PLANE. Mountain tops around us are snowy. Decide photo won't encapsulate how beautiful it is so no point trying. Take mental image instead. Click.
0700 - Many walking.
1200 - Spirits high-ish. Lose self in sexual thoughts about clean sheets. Interrupted by urge to vomit. Tum-tum on fire. Tighten ALL orifices to avoid spouting body fluids.
1243 - STEEP stairs. Very uneven. Focus on not falling. Forget to keep maintain orifice tightness. One step two step three ste-...
1244 - Houston. We has problem.
1245 - Assess situation. Leakage small enough as to remain invisible to travel buddies. But definitely there. Congratulate self for making it eighteen years into life without a pants poo. Stall by pretending to tie shoelaces.
1247 - Run through strategies while traversing steep cliff. Best option thus far:
1251 - Announce to travel buddies "I'm overheating, going to take off shorts and just walk in tights". Run into bush. Get nude. Shower self in drinking water. Throw away underpants and final pair of shorts. Squeeze into tights.
1254 - Back on track. Both pairs of shorts ruined. No more underpants.
1450 - First sight of Macchupicchu. IT'S ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD AND OMG WE MADE IT AND I don't give two shits because there's a fist-sized tear in my tights revealing bare skin and the rest of my wardrobe is scattered along the route behind me. Like a less fun breadcrumb trail.
1502 - Arrive in Macchupicchu. Mandatory Macchupicchu photo. Tick item off Bucket List.
1503 - Get me the fck outta these tights.
Have you had your own 'Bucket List' experience? Let us know in the comments below...