Mike and Jodi's trip to Peru travel blog

One of the many varieties of orchids

A blooming cactus

Rest stop

We made it to the TOP of Dead Woman's Pass

Didn't realize going down would be so much harder. PLEASE NO MORE...

I slept like a rock! 5.30 is wake up call but let me tell you this is LUXURY camping. We get a `good morning senor, senora. Tiene cafe or tea?` Seriously. We get it in BED! There´s not much time to enjoy it though as we have to have everything packed up and ready to hike again for 6. Well, maybe 6.20. Apparently we´re slow packers.

Here we go. The dreaded DAY TWO. 1200 metres straight up to dead woman´s pass. Willington tells us it´s called that because of all the tourists who die up there. Nice guy. Actually, viewed from the bottom it looks like a woman lying down. It´s a killer hike. We try to get a good pace but it´s so hard. The altitude makes breathing difficult to begin with and we´re going straight up. We´ve all decided those incas 700 years ago were totally insane. Who builds trails this tough and drags humungous stones up mountains to build fortresses that last forever and then get decimated by Spanish?

I was smarter today and put my bathing suit top on under my sweatshirt. By 7 am that´s all I´m wearing and my back is already soaked with sweat.

After 3 hours of this we stop for breakfast and again, our crew had outdone themselves. Pancakes!!! Yum. We´re starving.

After an hour break we´re back at it. STraight up to 4200 metres above sea level. After another 2.5 hours we make it and cheer each other on at the top. Ít´s freezing up there so out come the sweatshirts again. Group photo time. We are SO proud of ourselves.

Then it´s back down. This is when I find out that I would MUCH rather go up. It´s steep, the steps are so uneven and I´m afraid of heights. There are no such things as guard rails and my trekking pole is my best friend. Mike stays with me cuz I´m terrified most of the way. By the time we get to camp, not only am I exhausted but practically crying from fear. WHAT have I got myself in for???? This is NUTS!!! My knees are killing me and my stomach is in knots.

Lunch makes everything better. I´m recovered and ready to check out this camp site. The views have been magnificent. We`ve seen wild orchids, begonias, lady´s slippers and bromeliads. I´m going to have to show Mom how they grow in the wild. They´re gorgeous! THey grow in trees and on the sides of mountains. Now I can see why you water them from the top. The roots are just used as anchors by the looks of the way they grow. There are SO many things to photograph!

Tea time and cards again. We have a few new assholes. Another scrumptious dinner and bed by 8.30.

Tomorrow´s not supposed to be so bad. Today was 11 km. Tomorrow is supposed to be 16 but no huge hills. We´ll see. Willington´s good at hiding the truth.

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