OK! Finally caught up. Now we can talk about the famous Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
Sarah and I had booked the four day trek to Machu Picchu without a second thought. But once the date arrived, we began to ask ourselves why we weren't just taking the train there. It also didn't occur to us that we went to sea level (Paracas) three days before we left for the trail so we had to completely readjust to the altitude. Very smart girls we are! Anyways, prepared or not, we payed our expensive fee for the trek so we were going. We took a bus from Cusco to Ollantytambo (2 hours) and then we were soon on our way. Sarah and I split a porter to help carry our things. Without him, we would have been screwed. Seriously. I don't know how they do it. The porters carry huge packs and hike the whole trek in sandals. It has actually raised a big ethical issue in Peru.. the fact that they do a lot of work for very little pay. So Sarah and I made sure to give them big tips at the end of it. Still, they deserve a lot more money and respect. Moving forward (no pun intended).. we hiked an average of 8 miles a day and big chunk of it was uphill. The amount of stairs that the Incas built for this trek is absolutely insane. Right now, I refuse to climb or descend stairs until my knee caps are back to normal. Day two was by far the hardest. We hiked the part of the trail called "Dead Woman's Pass" which is as awful as it sounds. Day three was our favorite day. The views were prettiest, the hike was at its easiest, and not to mention we were quite delirious at this point so everything was funny. We also ran into a UT biology professor and hiked with him for most of the day. I guess the Eyes of Texas were really upon us! Small world. I'm still mad that we didn't get a hookem horns picture at Machu Picchu with Professor Richard. It would have definitely made the university website!! Anyways, the nights were cold and the food was..ehh below decent but to my surprise, I really, really enjoyed the whole thing and I feel very accomplished! I even want to do another one! Maybe one with less stairs though.