For several years it has been on my “bucket list” to travel to Peru and visit the famous Machu Picchu. I was drawn to the history, culture and opportunity to hike the Inca Trail. Since I turned 40 this past summer, it seemed like a great way to mark the milestone and do something that I had never done before.
I contacted GAdventures, a trusted partner of ours, to help with my trip. GAdevntures is a Canadian based company and offers a wide variety of options in Peru. They offer small group tours worldwide. They are known for immersing clients into local culture, using local vendors and products and contributing to the communities that they bring guests. Their business model intrigues me and I was excited to experience their company first hand.
I had to say I was a bit nervous about a “group tour” as I had never gone on one. In addition, when hiking the Inca Trail and camping together for four days, I knew there was no escape. I need not have worried, as our group was fourteen wonderful people representing five different countries. Our guides were the ultimate professionals. They truly loved their country and were so happy to share Peruvian culture with us.
We spent ten days in Peru, beginning in Lima, traveling to Cuzco and Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo and then to the Inca Trail. We spent 4 days on the trail, ending in Machu Picchu before heading back to Cuzco. In the cities, we stayed in basic local hotels that were convenient to town. On the trail, we slept in tents.
This had to have been one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken. It was a challenge both physically and mentally, but the experience was so rewarding. The Andes are truly breathtaking. The second day of the hike was our highest climb and was just shy of 14,000 feet before crossing over “Dead Woman’s Pass”. The picture below is the view from the top. We then descended to camp and spent the night on the side of the mountain with a waterfall flowing next to us. I woke up to fresh air and the sound of the water, while being surrounded by clouds. Portions of the hike we did as a group, but we also completed trails on our own. At one point, my husband and I could see no other people, houses, or cars…only the mountains surrounding us and the sounds of nature. Hiking the Inca Trail was a true gift.
We all lead busy lives. One of the greatest parts of traveling is to leave your normal daily grind, unplug(you can do it) and immerse yourself in a different place or culture. Try something new, meet new people, see new places. We are all better for it.
“Twenty Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, set sail from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
The night of my birthday, I told my husband, that by 50 I wanted to have visited all US states and set foot on every continent. I have 11 states to go and 3 continents. He asked why by 50, my reply, “why not?” Explore. Dream. Discover.
Submitted by: Tracy Murphy, February 2015