February 21st, 2018
MY CHARITY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU!!!
Dear reader; thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you enjoy it. I would be really grateful if you could leave any comments below on how I can make this blog better as this is my first one. Please also like and share this post on social media to help fellow travellers- I want more people to be inspired to take the leap and travel.
This is my account of the journey across the Inca trail through the Andes mountains to reach the sun gate and Machu Picchu beyond in order to raise funds for a really important cause.
Why I chose to trek the Inca Trail for charity.
In February 2017 I decided to sign up and trek the Inca trail in Peru to raise funds to help build a new cancer centre at the RUH. Having worked in the current building as part of my job I saw first-hand how much a new cancer centre would benefit patients and thus plunged myself headfirst into the challenges of fundraising and trekking across Peru for the RUH Forever Friend’s Appeal.
On a more personal level I’ve also lost a relative to cancer and know people who are still fighting it. 9 months on and an astonishing £3,700.00 has been raised through cake sales, and various fundraising activities. I am blown away by the generosity that has been shown by people throughout my fundraising.
On 11th November I arrived in Peru and spent 2 days of acclimatising to adjust an increased altitude of over 3000 metres, which is why I had an awful headache and several of us were ill. The first day our group had a tour around the city of Cusco where we would be staying before and after the trek. Cusco is a large bustling city with plenty of markets, squares and fountains. There still remains a large influence of the Inca's culture which is reflected through the many forms of art and architecture which can be seen throughout the city.
On the 2nd day we trekked to a national park called Sacsayhuaman outside the city for our acclimatisation trek, where we could see our first archeological site built by the Inca which in my view is very similar to stone henge but much more impressive and on a larger scale. On our way there, we visited a small village where the houses are made out of clay and straw and this made us realise how poverty stricken Peru is and the difference between a 3rd world country and a 1st world country like ours.
The Inca Trail
The next day I began my first ever trek along the official Inca trail to Machu Picchu which is the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Conquering Dead womens pass on the 2nd day of the trail was definitely a highlight for me, the sense of elation and euphoria on conquering the mountain and making it through the pass will stay with all of us forever.
The weather really made this day a challenge as Peruvian weather is unpredictable and although we had spent the morning bathed in sunshine; in the afternoon we had a torrential downpour which made the way down treachourous- the path disappeared and was replaced by miles and miles of rocks. In this incident the porters were a godsend they carried our luggage to our campsite and raced back up the mountain in their ponchos and sandals to rescue the people who were struggling. The third day of trekking the inca trail we walked through the cloud forest as if in a dream captivated by hummingbirds, butterfly's and admiring iconic landscapes.
I was also lucky enough to spot the emerald poison frog a critcally endangered species found only in Peru- see the gallery below.
The Sun gate and Machu Picchu
The sight of Machu Picchu from the sun gate on the last day of the trek made all the hard work worthwhile and all the way the knowledge that every step I took would enable cancer patients to have a better experience through their treatment kept me going.
I am amazed at how advanced the Inca's were for their time, to build an archeological site like Machu Picchu in the heart of the Andes mountains with hardly any tools is incredible. I think a visit to Machu Picchu should be on any travellers bucket list just for it's sheer beauty and the architecture. The best time to visit is in the morning before all the other tourists arrive.
After a tour round Macchu Picchu we got the train back to Cusco. What a bizarre train journey that was- we were sat on the train and all of a sudden pan pipe music started playing and a fashion parade began with a girl parading in different outfits alongside someone dressed in a colourful peruvian costume with a puma mask on who was getting people from our group to dance with them. I don't think british rail would allow this to happen on the trains back home! We then went for our celebratory meal and got to taste a real peruvian delicacy- which we're all familar with in Peruvian it's called Kuhe but we call it Guinea Pig!(Most people recoil when I tell them this but trying new things is a part of travelling and actually it's not as bad as it sounds.)
I have to say I am blown away by the kindness that the Peruvians have shown to all of us; every place we visited we were entertained, looked after and made so welcome. I have had such a blast, met some amazing people and would encourage any one to visit this beautiful country rich in both nature and culture.
Thank you for reading, I hope this inspires more people to do something different for charity and to know that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
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