The Third Day: Back Down to Where the Trees Grow

I’ll admit it. There was crying. And the ugly crying kind. After the second day where we hiked the longest and at the highest altitude we’ve ever been not on a plane, my moment of snotty, shoulder-hunching crying the next morning commenced. Troy just held me and petted me. I was still frozen from the night before; Troy kept getting up to pee every few hours and my feet were right by the zippers. I hadn’t eaten any dinner, except for some attempt at some soup. So he had to deal with a hangry popsicle who didn’t want to hike anymore.

“There, there. Here, have some coca tea.”

Insta-better. Cracked a joke. Yay, coca tea.

“There she is. There’s the Patti I know and love.”

Ok, time to pack up and begin the trek down. Jeremy, our guide, said that this was the short relaxing day because they choose to do both the highest and second highest elevations on the second day while the other tour companies only do the first highest and then call it quits at the lunch spot. I’m still not sure that wouldn’t have made for a more enjoyable second day, but not having to climb up on the third day AT ALL gave Troy and me an extra spring in our step!

Some of the best views and Incan ruins were during this day. The trail was incredibly well-built out, the plants were eye-poppingly colorful and some of the buildings we’d walk by still had some height to them.

We also managed to keep up with our group! Once we got back down to the height where the plants grew, we had so much new-found oxygen our muscles were super happy.

Once again, the porters passed us. We did our clapping with newfound fervor.

And our lunch spot was our done spot for the day! There was leisure time! While most of the group went off to a side hike to a historic place, not Troy and me. We hadn’t showered since we had started on the hike, so we happily wet wiped ourselves and doused witch hazel under our arms. We had the energy to change our underwear and brush our teeth. It was lovely.

And then late in the afternoon just as it was getting dark, the rest of the groups started rolling in. They looked so tired. And there were so many people! I had forgotten how many camp sites at the second day lunch spot there had been and how crowded getting up to the highest peak really had been. I then realized how lovely having the smaller tour group farther ahead had been and what it meant for our serenity. Hiking the second half of yesterday alone and then again for our entire walk down, had been a quiet solace that we didn’t appreciate until now.

Feeling fresh and clean, we met up with our group for dinner in our dining tents. I practiced my Spanish in order to say everything correctly and tip the Porters. And then we all went to bed early because we had to get up at 3 AM the next day in order to get in line with the masses to get to the Sun Gate.

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