I probably should have started our hiking story by mentioning what the heck we were trying to do. Yes, me and Daniela and the boys signed up for a five-day hike through the Andes. Ben had hiked before, but the rest of us had never hiked and were not exactly the epitome of physical fitness. At first, Daniela and I thought we might take a shorter trail and meet the boys in the end, but somehow I convinced us both that we should just go for the five-day experience.
We ended up choosing a guided hike through Q’ente in Cusco that would start at Salkantay, take us through the mountains for five days & four nights and end at Machu Picchu. While we didn’t get into a hike along the official “Inca Trail,” our trail would take us through mountains, glaciers and the rainforest.
According to my calculations, our hike would take us through more than 80 kms of Peruvian’s mountains, jungles and rivers. On foot. This was the itinerary:
- Day 1: Drive for 3-4 hours to get to our official starting point for the hike, then walk for 5-6 hours towards our campsite between two glaciers.
- Day 2: Hike for 6-7 hours, including an uphill trek that takes us to the highest point during the hike, then the rest mostly downhill.
- Day 3: More walking, about four hours worth. But promises of a rainforest, complete with waterfalls and tropical birds.
- Day 4: Eight hours of gruelling trail. A pit stop at the hydroelectric plant before finally reaching Aguas Calientes where we get to stay in an actual hostel!
- Day 5: Machu Picchu.
How would we fare on this adventure? Would we stick to the itinerary? Would anyone get thrown off the mountain? Read on to find out…