Aguas Calientes, Peru
We started our trek near the town of Acqua Caliente which is on the Urumbamba River. We were given an Alpaca tote bag which had to be less than 7 kilos, mine definitely wasn’t. It was challenging to pack all the belonging we think we would need for five days! The rest of our luggage would stay here in Acqua Caliente. Everyone had a porter and nine of us had a private tent. They served us a huge breakfast outside before we started trekking. The walk was not bad today passing along many villages, witnessing how they lived their lives. But already 2 or 3 people got sick today either from altitude sickness or food poisoning. The track was busy with local families either trekking with their donkeys and provisions , other with their cows. The bathrooms were not so bad that day on the trail With 36 people in our group, we had people of all ages, all abilities and various weight levels! This was definitely a hard hike for the heavier people as we ascended at high altitude. I was in the middle. The hike was 14 kilometers. Lunch was on the trail and the porters had to clean up after us for breakfast, pack up, carry out stuff and they still managed to pass us on the trail and set up each meal and portable potties before we arrived. One must have compassion for these porters, they probably make very little, they keep carrying this incredible weight on their back; which surely causes them health problems at an early ages, they don’t have the right shoes. They barely rest and they have work whether it rains or snows. It must be a double edge sword for them; as much as they need the Trekkers to make a living they must think we’re quite spoiled! Incredibly impressive! The higher we went the more in the rainforest we seemed to be in and it got humid and damp. We got to our campsite around 6 in the dark, but some of the singles tents were not set up, so we had to wait a bit, they finally set up our tents and a potty nearby. We had to unpack our pad and sleeping bag and make ourselves comfortable. I went with the flow but being that I’m not a backpacker/ hiker – all this is beyond my comfort zone, and was for a few other people too! Before dinner they had popcorn and tea. Right after they served us an decent dinner. I’m not that hungry at this altitude, so I enjoyed the soup and some vegetarian dish. I somehow never felt comfortable eating meat on the trail. After all they carry the eggs on top of their backpacks, the chicken with them all day and the temperature may reach a high degree; definitely not according to our standards After dinner everyone goes to their tents. It’s quite hard to brush your teeth and keep clean in the trail. At these high altitude it is harder to sleep so I took an over the counter sleeping pill and it seems to work.