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Inca Trail Day 1

By marksams, 12/29/2010 - 22:30

Our wake-up call was at 6.30am in the hostel at Ollantaytambo. The guides and porters arrived at 7am to weigh our duffle bags (only 6KG allowed), and we were on the bus to 'KM82' at the start of the Inca trail by 7.30am.

The faffing started here...with a final dress rehearsal in the car park we decided to start out in our ponchos due to light rain, and bought a couple of nice water bottle holders (Peruvian woven) to fit over the top of all our gear.

After posing for group photos by the marker at the start point, we passed through passport control (with optional stamp!). The passport numbers were correlated with the tickets. We then crossed the bridge over the Urubamba River to begin the trail in the National Park.

Day one is a fairly easy day, with just a gentle uphill most of the way. We passed lots of sellers, and locals transporting goods on mules, horses or llamas to their houses in the National Park. We also saw plenty of pigs, cows, turkeys and hens. Quite an enjoyable safari at times.

Our first Inca site was Willkarakay. The head guide (Guido) talked us through the history of the Incas and Spanish invasion with some key dates. He also talked about the features of Willkarakay, especially the terraces used for farming with their special construction of gravel, sand and soil designed to hold the sun's energy and allow water to drain through each level.

When we arrived at our lunch spot, the dining tent was already setup with the table and chairs for all 18 of us (including the guides), and the food soon arrived. The food was very good for the whole of the trek, without exception.

Hitting the trail again, we arrived into our camp site at Yuncachimpa in the late afternoon (at 3300m - approx. the same height as Cusco) and saw the hummingbirds feeding on the plants.

Dinner was in the dining tent with the usual setup for all the trekkers and guides, and soon after, we headed for the tents for an early night. It rained all night.