Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Prelude to Peru

Once again, it was time for a yearly adventure trip with my best friend from college.  Now, people who know me know how these things can turn out.  The first adventure trip included a lovely item called the groover (see an example here), kayaking and backcountry camping in one of the prettiest places in the United States: the Grand Tetons. Yep, it was soooo worth the groover. The next adventure trip was probably way too easy: bicycling (and eating) around Tuscany, Italy, for over a week. I should have realized that meant it was time for another difficult one. The conversation went something like this:

Mary: I have vacation time in March.
Me: Hmmm, too cold in March to bicycle around Ireland. What's warmer?

So while reading a list aloud, two words were of interest: Machu Picchu. I must say I really knew nothing about Machu Picchu. Mary was sure it sounded like a good idea.

Mary: Let's hike that trail that they only allow so many people per day to hike.
Me: Okay. Since we are going to South America, I at least want to spend a day or two in the Amazon Jungle, too.

So with that, we signed up with Active South America for a Peru "vacation" in March to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and visit the Amazon for a few days. Sometimes it pays to do a little more research before jumping in feet first, but for whatever reason, I only do a minor amount of research before these adventure trips.  Perhaps that is where the adventure comes into play? A month before the trip, I decided to start looking into the materials that Active sent our way to prepare. I call that planning!  Right? The whole thing was already a done deal in any case.

"It is highly recommended that visitors traveling to Peru get a yellow fever vaccine if they have not had one in the past 10 years." Huh? "Malaria tablets are not required in the portions of Peru we visit." Well, that's good at least, but aren't there a lot of mosquitos in the Amazon Jungle?  "Don't drink water from the tap and don't use it to brush your teeth." Hmm, perhaps I should look into this hike we are doing... oh wait... at elevation (above 11,000 feet)...  uh oh.  No biggy, 27.5 miles in 4 days.  Heck, I run ultras.  I could do that in ONE day. The second day is up a mountain with over 4000 feet elevation gain at elevation? Okay, maybe it would take me a little more than 1 day. At least it is at the END of the rainy season so how much could it rain?

What surprised me were the number of people who commented on how they had always wanted to go hike the Inca trail or how they knew so and so who went to Machu Picchu and thought it was amazing. I have to say that with comments like these, I was getting really excited about the adventure that was about to take place, with or without a yellow fever shot. (P.S. I got the yellow fever shot.)

On March 9th, I boarded a plane headed to Cusco, Peru, and hoped that the little bit of Spanish I learned in high school would come back to me. One of my first lovely views of Peru was from the the hotel window...

I would see a lot more than that of Cusco over the next two days.  Stay tuned! Next Up: Welcome to Peru!

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering if you had gotten the yelllow fever vaccination! I have mine, and am dreading getting it again...I got fevers every night for about 2 weeks afterwards.