Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tupananchis Caman

Thing we learned about Inca/Quechua culture:
-They believe in three worlds: The world above- Hanan Pacha, the world now- Kay Pacha, and the world below- Uka Pacha
-There is a ceremonial way to chew coca leaves that includes making a wish in them
- It would have taken the Incas about a week and a half to run (yes, run) a message from Cusco to Lima
-Tupanachis Caman is Quechua for I will see you in another life

This past week was honestly one of the best weeks of my life. Mary, Sean, and I made the most of our week vacation by completing the 4-day Inca trail! We headed to Cusco on Saturday and spent two days eating pizza and bagels and enjoying the beautiful city.

                                  The girls getting excited over bagels and fresh juice! 

Monday morning bright and early, we were picked up by our trekking company Peru Treks. It actually started a bit stressful because I was picked up alone, meaning that I was in a different group than the girls. While sitting on the bus alone for those first two hours, I simply prayed that God would allow us to all be together, or that I would be given a really fun group that I could bond with on my own. I was lucky enough to have both of them come true. Not only were the girls put in my group, but we also had wonderful guides, and an amazing group as well!

                                 Our amazing group and our amazing porters! 

So we finally began the trek, together, and had a wonderful first day! We had decided long before that we were gong to be strong, independent women that carried their own bags. This sounds all well and good until about 6 hours later when the only thing you can think of is taking off your pack. Throughout the first day, a lot of the scenery was very similar to what Mary and I see daily, but even though I see it daily, it still takes my breath away. While looking at those mountains, I had to ask myself how I am going to leave them. It is strange how after 8-9 months they become a comfort, something you rely on to always be there. 

After spending the night at the campsite and two delicious meals later (the food was super super good!) We woke up early to coca tea being delivered to our tent. I whispered Mary a happy birthday because I knew she didn’t want too many people to know, and we set off! Now let’s go back a few weeks when a friend of mine, Juan, was giving me tips on the trek and told me that on the second day you will, in his words, “Go just a little bit up.” Now what Juan actually meant by a “little” bit up was 6 hours straight UP hill. Sure we took our breaks every couple of hours, but getting up Dead Woman’s Pass was not easy, especially with all of our stuff. BUT we did it, we rocked it, and we had so much fun talking, laughing, and helping each other along the way. 

                                             The Inca trail drawn out

                        We had started that down allll the way at the bottom! 

Now day three is the longest day, which sounds fine until you wake up and realize that your muscles are so sore that just getting down to the bathroom sounds hard. But after a little bit of breakfast and a spike in adrenaline, we were off once again! The third day was honestly one of the most beautiful because you pass into jungle territory, so it’s very lush and green. We spent the majority of the day just trying to take it slow and enjoy everything around us.

                                          Just one of our amazing views 

So I mentioned before that Mary didn’t want anyone to know about her birthday, but during one of the breaks on day three, the guides asked her when her birthday was. She seemed a little concerned that they now knew that her birthday was the day before, so I tried to reassure her by saying, “Mary it’s okay, it’s not like they are going to bake you a cake, we are in the middle of the Inca trail.” Oh but was I ever so wrong. That night, after dinner, they served us a beautiful birthday cake for Mary, which also became a celebration of our last dinner together. We still have no idea how the cake turned out so amazing. The guides say it was magic… I say there was a bakery around the street they didn’t tell us about, we shall never know!

The fourth day started early so that our wonderful porters could make their train home, and so that we could get to Machu Picchu before the sun rose over it. So we hiked a short hour to the sun gate, spent about half an hour admiring the view, and then spent the rest of the day walking around Machu Picchu. We were then able to all eat lunch together in Aguas Calientes, and then take the train back to Cusco.

                                        Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

One of the things that I really loved about this trip was that our guides were shocked that Mary, Sean and I had only known each other for 9 months. The also told us that we were the “craziest” girls they had ever met. And while that sounds a little bad, it really just means that they had never seen three girls continuously laughing, singing, and enjoying each others company. We may have only known each other for less than a year, but we are already like sisters, something I’m so proud of. I was also proud that our group was known as the “noisy” group because we always clapped for each other, our porters, and our porters always clapped for us. It may have been annoying to other groups, but we had an unforgettable time because of it.

                                                      We made it!!

Now, I’m back in Hu├ínuco and looking forward to spending my last couple months with my family and friends here. As always, sending so much love to everyone!

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.”


  1. You "noisy girls" rock! Envious, -- and impressed. Wanted to hike that trail but didn't. We took the train to Machu Picchu in '74 and spent a night in Aquas Calientes when it was just a water-stop for the train's steam locomotive, and the little village had no electricity. We hiked up to the Sun Gate and the ruins of "Whinny Whyna" (phonetic - can't recall the Inca spelling). What an awesome culture that did great feats of agriculture, engineering & construction! Love the ministry you're doing, and the adventures you're having,
    Barry & Denise