January 26 – 27: We went with a small group of expats and Ecuadorians on a three day, 25 mile hike along part of the Inca trail leading to Ecuador’s best preserved Inca ruin, Ingapirca. We’ll do this post like an interview to spice things up a bit.
What did you most like about the trip?
Alex: We got to have marshmallows on the campfire. I found an old leather whip in the bushes and I really like it.
Lisa: I was nervous about keeping up with the group and making it to the end. It was such an incredible sense of accomplishment to meet the physical challenge and to watch our kids persevere through some rough terrain. It was even more rewarding to see breathtaking landscapes that can only be reached by foot – with not a soul in sight.
Rachel: We got to be with friends and not carry anything because we had mules. I loved that I could get on the mule whenever I wanted. We went to see awesome Inca ruins and even camp in some.
Wayne: I loved the hiking and camping and just being on the royal Inca trail, over 500 years old, in the middle of beautiful Andes Mountains – with its spectacular scenery.
What was the hardest part of the trip?
Wayne: That first day, walking completely uphill, in a steady rain, Alex falls off his mule as it jumps a ditch, into the mud. He is hurt, wet, cold and shivering. We have to keep going and get to camp. All the guides have gone ahead to set up camp. He is too big for me to carry. And he is not getting on that mule again. Incredibly, his crying subsides as he trudges along. An hour later, we arrive.
Alex: Falling off the mule.
Lisa: The first night, after walking in the mud, Alex falling off the mule and trying to get all settled in our tent before dark. Wondering whether our Ecuadorian guide really knew what he was doing when we found wet sleeping bags and that we would not fit four of us in the three person tent he packed for us.
Rachel: I had diarrhea for the first time…on the trail. Also, that first night in the tent – not much sleep.
What image will you most remember about the trip?
Rachel: I remember getting water from a spring for dinner and that we could go wherever we wanted to explore.
Wayne: 1. Alex, persevering up the trail, muddy, wet and cold, wrapped up in my coat and struggling to shield the wind and rain with a little umbrella. 2. Our second day, back on the trail, Alex leading the way up front with our guide, Adrian. 3. Our campsite the second night, Paredones, we actually slept in the middle of some Inca ruins!!!!
4. The kids hiking up the hill to get us water, cooking marshmallows, the full moon coming up over the mountain, waking up to ice on the tent. 5. Rachel, laughing and happy on the back of a mule.
Alex: My picture is staying at the ruins and playing hide and seek with the other kids.
Lisa: Reaching the highest point of the trail, about 15,000 feet and being in the middle of the clouds. Then, miraculously the sun came out and we had a 360 degree view of the whole mountain range and a beautiful glacial lake. While there is usually ice at the top, we were blessed with the sun and amazing views.
What did you learn on the trip?
Wayne: to get a mule to go, don’t pull, rather get behind it and follow.
Lisa: plastic can be your friend – for packing and wearing around your feet before putting your wet boots on.