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Mike's Photos From The Road #114
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the following five galleries are dedicated to my SECOND visit to machu picchu. my traveling partner tommi (from finland) and i set out on the inca trail on december 30, 2005 for the four day hike there.
me under the sign where it all begins, about 40km from machu picchu.
there is quite a lot of gear that a group of eight people needs for a four day trek through the jungle - and that's what these guys are for: the porters. here they are loading their backs with gigantic packs. you can also hire a porter to carry your backpack for you - often times you see a porter carrying two backpacks. they are short tiny guys who can carry trucks on their backs.
here's the train that makes for a much easier journey to machu picchu.
what's the secret of the porters boundless energy? coca leaves. you take a black gob of "llipta", so called "black stuff", and wrap it in coca leaves and then stuff it in your mouth. you swallow the bitter juice and then you can run up the hills of the inca trail. peruvians call it natural cocaine. i have never tried cocaine but coca leaves are the base ingredient of the drug, so i guess the effect is similar.
there are several wooden shack homes along the first part of the trail. the inhabitants sell drinks and snickers bars, the products becoming more expensive as you proceed farther into the jungle. here is tommi posing under a typical shelter at one of the homes.
after the first big climb, gustavo from brasil looked off into the jungle wishing that he had hired a porter to carry his huge backpack.
me and daniel from french canada at the top of the first hill.
we quickly realized that the facilities and food on the inca trail would be first class. the porters ran quickly ahead of us and set up the tents and tables and cooked lunch. they did everything making it much easier to enjoy the hike.
at the campsites there are clean modern toilets, built with money donated by the finnish people. the finns donated $7 million and the peruvians built seven toilets. major corruption in lima lead to this according to our guide, thus making the toilets along the inca trail the most expensive toilets in the world. the finns stopped sending money shortly thereafter.
after about seven hours of hiking we reached our first campsite where the porters had our tents set up and tasty snacks waiting.
we played a game of european football (soccer) at the most incredibly located soccer field i have ever seen. probably a bad idea after hiking for seven hours with eight more hours awaiting tomorrow. i was out for the count.
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