2 Day Hike 3700 metres (Inca Trail / Ninu Mayu)

July 14, 2009 - Sucre, Bolivia

Well after looking around town and the different options on tours you could do in the area we decided to do a 2 day hike of a canyon that is close by to Sucre.  The main reason this appealed was because we have the Peru Inca trail booked in for the end of August and seeing as both of us are not exactly fit we thought this would be a good tester.

P1020612The first day we meet our guide and join another group that were doing a one day trip and took a bus to the start of the Inca trail.  We started the walking around 9am.  As soon as you go through the start of the trail you see the most beautiful scenery.  It was just incredable and the next hour both of us kept saying that this was well worth doing...  The photos don´t really show you how amazing it is as there are just so many colours in the mountains and they just keep going.  We walked from 9am to around midday where we stopped by a river to have lunch for about 30 min.  That is when we seperated from the group and continued to a small town called Maragua where we were to supposed to stay for the night.  Now we knew this walk would be hard and amazingly we did ok - the guide was quiet nice - he knew a little english and for the first couple of hours he was quizzed on how to pronounce different words...  He however kept taking us on ´short cuts´ up hills instead of following the roads and seeing as we are not use to walking up hills at this altitude it probably took us twice as long as what it would have had we kept to a slow incline.  Either way by the time we hit the town Maragua (around 4.30pm) we were stuffed .... but really happy to have completed it.

Now when we were sold this trip we were told that we would walk to Maragua. (14km up and down hills), stay over night, wake up early and do another 6 hours or so walk via dinasour tracks ...and then to a nearby town where we would have to take local transport (referred to as the ´Stinky Truck´) back to Sucre. This was not to be....

P1020634Once at the town the guide brought out the map and explained that if we want to see the dinasour tracks we have to keep walking for another 2 hours.  The main reason for this was because tomorrows transport back to Sucre apparently leaves at midday and we would not make it back to the pickup point if we stuck to the original route. It all went down hill from here..... We were not happy as we really just wanted to lie down, enjoy the sunset with a beer, marvile in on what we have just acheived (Climbing between 2700metres and 3700 metres... for us this is a big acheivment!!!), and get some well earned rest.  We would have been extremely happy with the day had it been that way.  Suddenly our guide no longer understood any more english, and we had no choice but to keep going even though we were saying that the sun is about to set. 

P1020652Now keep in mide that we had not had a break since lunch and were so tired from walking up hills for hours on end that by the time we had walked another 40 min we were getting really shitty.  Finally the guide called the agency, after we explained what we had been sold and what we were getting and they finally agreed to pay for private transfers back to the city later the next day which gave us time to get to Potolo (pick up point).  However by this time we were already up the first hill... with the guide stating the dinasour tracks are only ´óver the hill´(like hell it was). We could have walked back down and slept at the town we were supposed to stay at, but seeing as the guide kept saying that it is only an hour or so over the hill downwards we decided to keep going... Big mistake.

After the next 30 min we started to feel really sick from exaustion and the sun finally fully set.  As we are all told when we are kids never walk somewhere you don´t know if it is at night... We ended up taking out our torch and asked the guide if he had his - he looked at us like we were mad and said no of course not...  So for a hike that was supposed to take 2 hours, it ended up taking 4 hours (Murray coming very close to collaping at one point, and both of us unable to drink any more water ... the body just would accept it any more).  We finally found the place we were supposed to sleep.  We were incredably close to sleeping under the stars and thinking back probably would have been very smart of us.  The only thing that deterred us was there are a lot of stray dogs around and we don´t know what insects are in the area (we do know there are triantullar spiders though).  The guide by this time had found his english with us swaring so much and kept asking what the problem was???  We knew better then to let ourselves to get in this situation... we seriously need to listen to our instincts more.

P1020704Anyway when we did arrive at the place to stay (we were told there were 5 beds, kitchen and toilet and it was really nice).  We walked into a room full of dirt and dust and no beds, toilet had been disconnected and the kitchen was still being built...  After a lot of words (I won´t repeat) the guide got the locals that own the place to get mattrices for us to sleep on and surprisingly they were ok looking (I would have hated to do any tests on them though).  However with how tired we were I am sure the guide had no sleep from both of us snoring while beathing in dusty dirt all night...  Before going to sleep the guide asked if we wanted dinner however we were both feeling so sick by this stage from walking so long that we just wanted to go to sleep... there was no way we could hold any thing down if we tried.  Thankfully we didn´t eat, as we found out later that he had raw chicken in his bag the entire 1st day (it was a hot day as well) that he was going to cook for us!!!  He asked us in the morning if we wanted it and was he appeared really shocked when we said there was no way we were eating chicken that has been out of a fridge for so long.  They must have the ability to eat meat like that here which is a bit of a worry - no wonder people get sick so often in this country (thankfully we have not had any bad illness yet here.... touch wood). The guide ended up giving it to the family which were really happy to take it off our hands.

The taxi was going to pick us up at the next town (Potolo... a total Dust Bowl) at 3pm and it was only going to take around 3-4 hours (he was adding time for us seeing as we were so sore!!! (how funny) we could leave late morning.  We ended up having breakfast on a large solidified mudflat with fossilised dinasour foorprints (which were awesome to see ... but not sure if it was worth the 4 hours night tracking along cliff tops nearly killing ourselves to get to them though).  They were so really well defined we are wondering if they are real (ie not fake setups for stupid tourists like us)!!!  Apparently thousands of foot prints in this area have been documented so we are blissfully thinking they were authentic ...

The next walk was fine most of it was down hill which was fine for us to cope with.  Amazingly we did not suffer from headaches from the altertude but drank over 10 liters of water between us on the first day and another 9 on the second.

P1020745The taxi arrived at 4pm (an hour late... there is a surprise) which we were happly surprised at (seeing as it is Bolivia we were expecting it to be at least 3 hours late) and off we went back to Sucre.  After about 5 min we hit an area with a lot of sand and the car could not go with all of us in it... So out we all had to hop out and push the car up the hill (just what we needed), hopped back in until the next time...  this happed about 5 times through out the trip - not so funny at the time but hilarious now.  The car also had a hole in its radiator so with us going up and down hills all the time, the driver had to keep stopping, pour water over the engine and refill the radiator with any creek water he could find...  He would then stop at any water running to refull his bottles...  Murray and I just kept looking at each other with disbeleif..... While the taxi drivers wife and kid played in the front seat...  

We were going to have a go at the tour operator when we arrive back for selling something that was not possible to deliver on, but we were so tired and she seemed so nice we just politly told her what had happened.  She wanted us to come back the next day to go over it again, but we couldn´t be bothered in the end... all in all it was a an adventure, but felt like hell at times. We still saw some amazing scenery, and walked through several villages and farms who have a very hard life.

P1020750P1020751We spent another 2 days in Sucre to recover, and last night went to this Awesome Steak restuarant where we paided for just a single bottle of wine, 1000ml Coke, and a single meal ...all for US $20..... And the steaks was HUGE (around 1kg)... too much even for a family to eat. We couldn´t beleive it !!! It was one of the hardest meals we have every had to eat (no... Really).... After a couple of days walking, our appetites we non-existant.  The sides included, Chips, Lime mayo (really nice), chilli salsa, salad, asparagus, pickled onions, carrots, cheese rice and tomarto sauce....  Meal fit for a king - easily over 100AUD worth.





We are making our way to the mining town of Potosi today (3 hr bus ride away, but at an elevation of 4300metres... hope the altitude doesn´t affect us too badly).   We would easily come back to this town as long as it was not via Santa Cruz!

Hoping everyone is OK. We will write again soon - lots of Love...


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