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Inca Trail Day 2

By marksams, 12/29/2010 - 22:33

One of the guides (Bruno) woke us all up at 6am with coca tea delivered to our tent. Breakfast was at 6.30am, and we were on the trail by 7am.

Day 2 is the longest day of the trek over two passes; Dead Woman's Pass at 4215m, which took us 4 hours to climb in constant rain, and the '2nd Pass' at 3950m.

We stopped for lunch at the Paqaymayu campsite in-between the passes. Many other tour groups ('SAS', 'GAP' etc) were camping here for the night; but for us (with 'Intrepid') it was only half way through the day. Soon after lunch we visited the Runkurakay Inca site. The sun came out and dried us off after the morning of continuous rain.

Guido gave us another talk about the Incas. Runkurakay was used by soldiers and messengers (approx. 20-25 year old 'runners' ) that passed messages between each site. They only ran approx. 5KM at high altitude and 10KM at lower altitudes. Messages were passed in Inca writing - a series of coloured ropes of differing significance and knots, either on their own or with other artefacts (human hair/gold etc.) tied into them. The arrival of a messenger was signalled by blowing into a large sea shell (sourced from Ecuador/Galapagos) so the next runner could be ready to go.

We continued walking towards our next campsite at Chaquiqocha, stopping at another Inca site en route called Sayac Marca (Sayaqmarka). This was an Incan administrative site of reasonable size, and a number of people would have lived here. Carlos, our 3rd guide, gave us a talk about the site. It was designed to control the Inca trail/route between the Amazon and Machu Picchu, and the detailed architecture was self evident with features for water supply, drainage and cooking areas. This site was very high up and we could see our final destination for the day across the valley. It was only 25mins away - but looked much further!

We arrived at the camp site, and had a dinner as usual in the dinner tent. We had to keep reminding ourselves it was Christmas Eve! To celebrate we had a couple of jugs of brandy and Pisco mixed with hot water and apple after dinner. Bit rough but it hit the spot. We agreed a lay-in until 7am and retired for the night.

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