This is the day I wanted to throw myself off the side of the mountain more times then I can count. I woke up in bitter pain, thanks to my lack of exercise in my everyday life and walking down a steep hill for 2 hours and deathly tired thanks to my never getting comfortable in the solo tent and barely sleeping a wink.
This was also the longest day, walking for about 11 hours with minimal breaks. We saw lots of Inca ruins, some which we could get close to and some I had to pass on because I was lagging it so bad. I was the last person by far today. I also spent most of the day crying because I was in such pain and I was so tired. Lunch was a hazy affair that I barely remember and napped after for about 30 minutes. The afternoon was awful. It was pretty much all downhill, of which I was sick of at this point and taking each step very very slowly, for fear I was trip over my tired feet. The guide stayed behind me, which stressed me out even more. I hate when people walk or swim too close behind me and I freak out that I am holding people up and therefore have a bad habit of slowing down, so they could pass. But that couldn’t happen here, so that put me into tears as well.
The last bit of the hike are like a million small switchbacks. The guide grabbed my arm at this point and dragged me down the hill for the last 20 minutes of the hike. I spent the whole time in tears as I kept thinking how long it would have taken me if he hadn’t done that. At least an additional hour, which brought me to tears AGAIN every time I would think that thought. When I got to camp, the group who got there before me, said they only beat me by like 20 minutes, which made me cry AGAIN when I thought about how far behind I would have been if the guide hadn’t dragged me. I asked the Canadian boy (who was our MVP and was the first to arrive every single time, we joked later it was because he was very quite and didn’t waste energy talking on the trail) when he arrived compared to me and he said 2 hours. Tears, tears, tears.
The campsite on the last night is a clusterfuck. It’s very narrow and layered and so easy to get lost in and campsites seem like they are on top of each other. Everyone can hear everyone all night long. When I got to my tent, I immediately washed up and changed and slept through tea, I didn’t care. I made it to dinner and for the porters tip presentation which was quite funny. The oldest porter was in his 60’s and the youngest was 19, which is how old one of the other single girls was and we all had a laugh over hooking them up, but something about “high five” got lost in translation. I debated taking a sleeping pill that night as I was so tired but gearing up for another uncomfortable sleep considering we had to get up at 3:30am the next morning. I popped one since we were in bed by 7:30pm, so that gave me a solid 8 hours of sleep, more then enough for one pill. The night was a little better because I was sharing a tent, but I was still in and out of my sleeping bag a million times. But the pill was very very helpful.
Moral: If you couldn’t tell, this was my hardest day. It was one of the hardest days of my life and I can’t even count how many times I wanted to throw myself off the side of the mountain. I am not exactly sure what would have helped. If I had shared a tent the day before? If I had brought my own sleeping bag? If I had rented the extra mattress? If I had taken a sleeping pill on Night 2? Who knows. I survived, but barely. Another thing that made me cry when I would think about it is if I was this slow on the first day, I would have had to turn around and go back, which made me so sad to think about that hypothetical, I would burst into tears again. It was just a very emotional and tiring hike. I don’t even remember much about the 3rd day. It was painful.