I told myself I would be a minimalist as I was packing my day bag and porter bag for the upcoming trek. The morning of Day One, I realized once again that I have no true understanding of the concept of packing lightly. Did I need three cameras? I thought so. I only had one solar battery charger, and honestly it took way too long to charge fully.
Did I need all those layers?
The tour guide said prepare for anything. Some of the lessons quickly learned along the trail.
Yet we hiked up and down hills, past varied landscapes and ancient Incan ruins, all surrounded by towering mountains. Porters and donkeys passed us, which quickly became a sight we got used to. Both an ego buster and a sight to behold.
Day two was a whole different beast. I had heard stories about the dreaded Dead Woman’s Pass, and thought really nothing of it as I have experience hiking in high altitude. I wasn’t informed it was a never-ending ancient Incan staircase, which really only hurts the ego more than the knees.
Quickly learnt to silence the negative thoughts in my head and just go for it. So, somewhat numb and in dramatic agony, we pushed on. And once at the top, looking out 14,000 feet towards the clouds floating off the Andean peaks, we took photos, feasted on carb blocks and laughed about how it really wasn’t that bad.
Cultural and fun day was day three! Camping on the cliffs of the mountains was an experience in and of itself. There was no light pollution, and as we all stargazed under the Milky Way, I realized how far I had come.
The day everyone anticipates, came far too soon. Day four we woke up hours before sunrise, and followed the headlamp lights to the Sun Gate as the sun started to rise up beneath the towering mountains that engulfed us. Climbing up the Sun Gate, I was rewarded with the sun shining light over Machu Picchu in the distance. In that moment we had all accomplished what we had set out to do, and the energy was something I will never forget.
They say Machu Picchu is a spiritual place, a place of mystery and intrigue. A beautiful, lively and desolate destination once only accessed by a challenging, arduous trail.
While it’s always easier to move forward and never go back. We can conquer our demons and doubts just like we conquer mountain peaks; moving slowly but surely, having the confidence in ourselves and always continuing to our destinations. Learning to get rid of the things in life that weigh me down and to only take what I need.
In conclusion, taking every moment in, as it’s the journey itself that will change and inspire you for the rest of your life.
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