Sunday, October 7, 2012

Peru-Day 3

We rose to the gentle wake up call at 530 a.m. from our guides, Paul and Jorge, who greeted us with our requested beverages of cafe and hot chocolate, along with steaming bowls of hot water and soap to refresh our faces and brush our teeth.

We had breakfasted, packed, and off for the day by 715, ready for day two, blessedly, the easiest of days. Most of day two was downhill, and at first, much wanted, but then our nearly 30 year old bodies began to give out. Another item we had not packed appropriate for were shoes. (I really could kick myself worrying about water purification before we left instead of visualizing and researching proper hiking gear.) We both wore gym sneakers-Nikes and Pumas, which are great for running and my CX Works classes, but offer no ankle support and rocky trails through the Andes mountain range. Our ankles twisted, our knees absorbing shock after shock going down the steep hillsides.

The weather turned warmer and the vegetation began to change from brown rocky terrain to lush, green gullies-although still rocky. It was always rocky. Those mountains were made of granite and actually what the Incas used to build their cities.

Much of what our hike looked like-single file, ever changing order, with the guide leagues ahead.

Seriously, the views NEVER got old.

With the increasing warmer temperature (high 50s) and subtropical climate, enter mosquitos. Sweet, sweet Scott is a target for the bugs, having been chased by them as a child, a victim of Malaria during his travels in Africa, and not surprisingly, the Peruvian variety loved him too. Granted, we both were wearing jeans and they still found the way to his ankles arms, while wearing bug repellent.

Enter rural villages as described.

Juan, the argentinian, is telling me to watch my step on one of the many bridges the US would deem unusable.

Horses we finally took advantage of, downsizing to one backpack and throwing the other with them.

Waterfall break

Much of the flora included orchids once we descended into the tropical portions of the hike. Orchids, butterflies, and caterpillars everywhere you looked.

By lunchtime on day two, he was feeling fairy well considering the cold had not vanished and was managing it in extreme circumstances. I on the other hand was ready to take the blue pill. I am not sure if it was from sleeping funny on the plane, a previous night, or what, but I had developed a tension headache on both sides of my neck, making it nearly impossible to turn my head, while it was also pounding. Lunch was a feast and I had no desire to partake in the mushroom ceviche, beef tenderloin, quinoa medley, potatoes, or any of the other items presented before us. Following lunch I mounted a horse, donned the one backpack since we had finally wizened up to the porter horse, alleviated Scotts back and shoulders, for a while and continued our journey.

Giant bag of coca leaves. Should sustain us a day.
By this time, our ibuprofen supply was dwindling. Like the toilet paper, we were rationing the 10-15 pills we had, consuming them for our aching joints. When we finally reached camp that night, I was feeling marginally better thanks to the horse riding decision. Scott's bites had began to multiply and we ached, but overall were in good shape considering the circumstances.

View from the tent our second night.

Wash basin and very tired, sore, and dirty feet.
Our first night was a very getting-to-know-you date with our fellow hikers. Each meal we shared was in a tent, seated all together, but finding common ground among the two languages could be difficult at times. By our second night, we had found our groove, joking and telling stories, bonding over our highs and lows of the journey. The Argentinian couple was by far our favorite, and they spoke impressive English as well. At some point during our casting of the 50 Shades of Grey book-which none of us had ever read, or wanted to read, but somehow we found common actors to suggest for roles we knew nothing about, a raging pain struck the side of my neck. We excused ourselves, having finished dinner, and went to bed, both taking a NyQuil, praying it would aid our sleep on the slightly sloping terrace that our sleeping bags were upon.

Never have I been in so much pain in a place where I was beyond helpless with the situation. I do not say this to sound dramatic, but not being comfortable due to your neck on fire/spasming/and head aching without a pillow but a dirty sweatshirt to lay on was beyond uncomfortable. At some point I could not help but to curse and cry and pray for the pain to go away.  After denying the final pill we had in our possession, I took it, and found a few hours of shuteye in the early morning.

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