I have been living in Urubamba, Peru for the past five weeks and a week ago left for six days long hiking adventure around the sacred valley and in the areas of Cusco and MachuPicchu. Before the hike, I didn’t think that I was mentally prepared for six days of ‘flat’ up and ‘flat’ down, but I didn’t have much choice so on the 7th of October our trek group left. The first day was not a beginner warm up. We hiked for 6h and before the sunset reached “Cancha Cancha” a small village with an estimate of around 200 people. The first night in a tent was one of the coldest nights of my life. I wore three layers of clothing was inside a sleeping bag and in a small tent and still felt like my toes were falling off.
Next morning I couldn’t have been happier to wake up from this 8h cold dream. As it was only 5 am it was still quite dark in the morning when we ate a sufficient breakfast. Heads up, the second day is the hardest, is what one of the guides said to use on the breakfast. I stopped for a second and out load said, how much harder than yesterday? The guide looked at my with a cheeky smile and said it’s only gonna be ‘flat’ up and down. I tried not to discourage myself in my head but honestly there was nothing more that I was thinking about than “the warm and comfortable bed waiting for my somewhere far from here.” We started hiking and to be honest, the first 3 hours were not challenging at all. But at one point we reached a huge mountain that seemed just to appear ‘grow’ in front of us out of nowhere. We didn’t stop to go around or take a breath but rather zipped up our jackets and never looked .. ‘up’ :). Half way up the summit it started raining which ‘as you can probably guess’ didn’t help much. The guide didn’t seem like it made a difference to him. After over 7 hours we reached the summit at 4800 meters above the sea level. That did feel good; we are higher than Mont Blanc said the other guide ‘Yamil.’ Everything was great except the fact that by the time we got there, it was raining, hailing, snowing and it was **** cold.
We hiked for another hour to get on the other side of the summit before we started our way down. After around 15min on the summit, I realized that my rain jacket that was supposed to do literally one thing “stop water” did exactly the opposite and after 30 minutes I was soaking wet. I had ice cold water in my pockets; my gloves were frozen, and I couldn’t feel my fingers what so ever. Now we were standing on the edge of this mountain that seemed huge from below, and now it was easy, just get back down. Well, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Because is was, to quote the guide “‘flat’ down,” and the snow and rain made the whole route down muddy. So slowly sliding down this muddy path we started heading to a little house made of brick that we could see far away down the valley. That was not our final destination just a break for lunch. A positive thing was the sun that decided to show up when we reached the bottom of the hill. I felt amazing when we walked into the brick house. I mean, I couldn’t feel my fingers, my toes, and I was completely soaked in water. The food was amazing although for the first twenty minutes I couldn’t properly hold the fork, I spilled some of the hot water on my pants that actually were the only thing that survived this day. From there we followed the trail to the camping spot, and in 9 hours of the most intense hiking that I have ever done, we did manage to reach the destination. After this day I realized that I shouldn’t think about the warm bed that was five days away but about the lunch spot the next day, that made it easier to motivate myself. Dinner at 8 pm and the hardest day was behind us (supposedly the hardest). That day we reached 4800m but as the sun rose on the east side of the third day we were gonna climb a summit of 4400m which was not much easier either. I kept telling myself that everything is fine. It’s just FLAT up.
After the second day, I don’t think anything could scare me. That was true. In 4 hours we reached the summit and in 3 hours we were at the camping spot. That was easy I thought. Next morning the plan was slightly different, the time until lunch we spent planting trees for the local community. We managed to plant 100 trees in only 3 hours. Ate lunch and the next destination were Hot Springs in a little town called “….” sorry. Remember, this is after four days of sweat and no shower. When we reached the hot springs, I dropped my stuff and walked straight into a hot spring that was supposed to be close to 50 degrees Celsius. I have never in my whole life felt more relaxed. This didn’t last long as 5 in the morning we left and headed straight for another destination that none of us actually knew the location of. Finally, after the next two days, we did reach the hostel and slept in the warm and comfortable bed that I expected. The most important thing,
If you asked me: “Would you do it again?”