Knowing that I had always had a fascination for Peru and a longing to see Machu Picchu, my son Graham called one day, and in effect said “We’re doing it!” Imagine my surprise and absolute joy.
We thought we would take the train and bus to Machu Picchu, but the night before we booked the trip we put aside doubts of our capabilities and opted to do the four day trek on the Inca trail. I had a few sleepless nights. These doubts crept back, and I wondered if I had agreed to something that I was incapable of doing, but determination took over. Graham said “whatever happens will be an adventure.” Now I cannot imagine missing those four fabulous challenging days. The trek was awesome in the truest sense of the word, and the astounding feeling of accomplishment has had a huge impact on me.
In preparation we walked, climbed stairs, hiked trails and walked a mountainous road with a pack and our poles. We trained for six months before our trip.
The scenery was ever changing. Sometimes we had open views of deep valleys and snowcapped peaks. Sometimes we were surrounded by lush green growth as we walked beside small streams, and sometimes we were above the tree line amid dried grass. There was beauty everywhere, and there was absolute silence. I stood in all that grandeur on a trail that has been traversed by so many people for hundreds of years, but had the feeling that somehow my experience was unique. Except for the campsites and the trail itself, there is no evidence that anyone has gone before.
I had feared dehydration and hypothermia and all manner of woes at Dead Woman’s pass at 14000 feet on the second day, and my pack was full of things to cope with any eventuality. It was a long hard climb and cold, but otherwise alright. Arrival at the top of the pass was an emotional high truly a “peak” experience. There was much hugging amongst our wonderful group of eleven and two guides, and some quietly shed tears.
Our main guide had a deeply ingrained knowledge of the trail, Inca history, ruins along the way and every aspect of Machu Picchu. He had done the trail over 600 times, but everything he said sounded fresh. Many of the thoughts he shared added a spiritual dimension to this wonder filled experience.
On the final day as we stood at the sun gate looking ahead and down at Machu Picchu I all its greenery and greatness and glory bathed in the first rays of the sun. I could barely believe that I was actually there. Again, lots of hugging, Laughter and tears. We spent hours roaming the site learning from our guide. Certainly this was the experience of a lifetime for me.
A Mother son combination may be an unusual relationship for a trip like this but for us it worked well. We were very compatible, had no moments of discord, supported each other and laughed a lot.
The few days in the amazon allowed us to rest, relax and have fun before returning home, but the memories of the trail are always foremost in my mind.