Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Inca Trail Trek - Peru 2012 - Raises £30,000

At the end of July 2012, 17 of us embarked upon the Inca Trail in order to raise money for The Princess Alexandra Hospital Charitable Trust - Breast Trials Unit. We trekked for four days, spending three nights on the mountain its-self, in order to reach Machu Picchu, and watch the sun rise through the sun gate. And through all of this, we raised £30,000 for an amazing charity which genuinely does save lives.

After 24 hours of travelling around the world in order to reach Cuzco and finally getting a good nights sleep, we headed to Tambo Machay, and area in the hills above Cuzco. Not only did this walk provide some amazing scenery, but also allowed us to acclimatise to the altitudes that none of our bodies where used to. Sleeping at 3400m doesn't sound like it will cause any problems, but I can assure you that even a small walk up some steps means that you have to stop and catch your breathe! After acclimatising, we had one final night to sleep in a hotel before heading off on the Inca Trail!

The start of our trek!
We woke up and had soon left Cuzco behind us, heading out along the Sacred Valley via Ollantaytambo to the Trail’s starting-point at Km82. The first half-day walk was fairly easy and on an undulating path which follows the Urubamba River for much of the way. After lunch a gentle climb took us to our camp at Wayllabamba. There where a couple of steep drops and climbs into gullies along the way making the days walk quite exciting, especially with the great views of Mt Veronica standing at 5000m. This night we slept at 2900m, which although is slightly lower than we where used to, meant that by the time we'd finished the days walking, all of us where ready for a nice night in bed. But before bed came dinner...now this was the part we where all dreading, what can you possibly eat when your at 2900m and all of the food you eat for four days has to be brought up with you?! But this was where the biggest surprise came...all of our food was amazing! Honestly, you would NEVER believe the food we where getting served! Everyday for lunch we had a different hot soup, with a selection of breads. Then at dinner we where having all sorts! Over the 4 days we had a variety of fish, casseroles with chicken and other meats, and even fresh salads with beautiful avocados which where freshly picked! I would have been more than satisfied with this food in a restaurant, so to be getting it when we where up a mountain was unbelievable! 
What a view!

The next day was the big climb, we went all the way to 4200m. The relentless steps made this such a hard day! We went through a variety of muddy terrain, forests and even open grass plains. When we stopped for a well deserved lunch, we could see the snow capped mountains in the distance, and it was these views which made it worth it. Once reaching the dead woman's pass (4200m), we descended back down to 3500m, meaning we trekked for about 10 hours that day. What a killer. 

Our third day trekking brought even more steps. But it also brought up some spectacular views. Almost every mile was an ancient ruin, and the Sayacmarca ruin was an especially spectacular ruin. I still can't put my finger on what it was about these places, not even the photo's capture it, but it was extremely spiritual. The ruins coupled with the other views (which where out of this world) just made for an extremely cathartic landscape. Once we got to our campsite, we all wanted to get some sleep for the early morning that was coming because the views we where going to get would surpass everything else...

Jumping with joy that we made it!
We awoke at around 4am to begin our trek to Machu Picchu and the sun-gate. We arrived just as the sun was rising and saw the sun come up through the sun gate, and slowly illuminate Machu Picchu below. This was without doubt the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen! It was at this point that a significant number of our group began to cry. Not because we where sad, not even because we where happy, but just because of the beauty of the landscape and knowing that we had all just completed such an achievement! I loved every single second of it. 

Once the sun had rose, we headed into Machu Picchu for a guided tour before any tourists arrived. That was also spectacular. I won't go into too much detail, but I could not fathom how this village was created so many years ago! Each rock weighed tonnes, but they'd somehow moved them all to create houses, walls and other structures! Unbelievable.

Machu Picchu - The sun rising
When we arrived back at our hotel, we all had an amazing nights sleep! The trek was amazing, but it certainly took every ounce of energy from us, and I'm sure the camping didn't help!

Exploring Cuzco the next day was also lovely. Once again I won't bore you with details, but the Alpaca clothes (especially my slippers) are so gorgeous and soft! 

The whole trip was amazing. Everyone of us on the trek loved it. It was challenging (both mentally and physically), and took every once of will power to get up every morning, but it was without doubt worth it. I've made friends for life, and memories for life.

If you feel like taking part in any of these events, raising money for an amazing charity, and experiencing things most people never will, please contact us on pahbreasttrials@outlook.com or visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PAHBreastTrials to see what other events we're doing. We're here to help and support you when your raising the money for the charity, and not only can we give you idea of how to raise some money, but also give you a chance to be on our committee, and help organise the amazing balls we do. But please feel free to check the facebook page, or give us an email, even if you only want to ask small questions. You'll be hearing from us soon!!!!

The Team at "Dead Woman Pass"