Inca Trail Day 2: Where the Path Gets Difficult

When I went on the Inca trail with Roberto last summer, he had us do the hike to Choquequirao all in one day.  I’ve since found out that this is extremely unusual, most reasonable travelers break it up into two days.

The reason they break it up is that it’s a 20 mile hike.  In fact, Roberto confided in me that he usually breaks it up to two days when he’s going with regular clients, but he figured that I could handle the extra distance (thanks for the vote of confidence).
Honestly though, I think a 20 mile day isn’t all that bad.  After all, it’s better to have a free day to spend at Choquequirao than to have to rush your visit to the actual ruins.  In fact, the itinerary we have for this summer breaks the first day of hiking into two days, and I think I’m going to push to convert it back to a 20 miler.  After all, once you start hiking and suffering, you might as well just get her done.
The first 13 miles of the hike are pretty easy actually.  In fact, the first 6 miles or so are very easy.  The trail is wide and you can actually run it with relative ease.  However, once you get to the view pictured in the above photo, things get a little more difficult.  This is the first of the passes you’ll be crossing on the way to Machu Picchu, and you can see a bunch of people gathered around in the above photo.
The other side of this pass is a descent to the river floor (which takes about 6 miles) and then you’re going UP, UP, UP for what feels like forever.  That last 7 or 8 miles is tough, but once you’re done, you’re at the gateway to Choquequirao.
Anyway, at this point in the trip, it’s still smooth sailing.
 You see, safety is very important, that’s why they built these super safe railings that prevent anything bad from happening.  They’re very trustworthy, you can lean up against them and extend your body over the edge so you can take close-up pictures of the cavernous cliff that thunders down into the raging river below (for those of you who don’t have “sarcasm detectors” I really don’t recommend that you do that).

Finally, you’ve arrived at the one quarter of the way to Choquequirao point!  Hooray!!!

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