'The trek that HAS IT ALL'... Inca Rivers, Peru
By Jo Vartanian | Wild Women On Top Coach
‘THE TREK THAT HAS IT ALL’… that’s what our gorgeous Jilly (ex at the WWOT office) said to me 2 years ago about the INCA RIVERS trek, and she was so right!!!
Peru’s 10 day trek through the heart of the Andes which culminates in rarely seen views to Machu Picchu boasts spectacular snow-caped mountains, deep river canyons that are the source of the mighty Amazon, heavenly home-grown and home-cooked meals, abundant wildflowers, giant tropical fruits, altitudes of up to 4660m, warm and welcoming Peruvian people, all the colours of the rainbow, a shoppers paradise and physical and mental challenges that our guide Javier says brings many men to tears.
Eight Wild Women on Top (minus our gorgeous Sue who had to return home due to illness) accepted everything that was thrown at them with all their heart and soul. There were tears, a fainting moment, heart stopping edges, a few muddy stumbles, lots of annoying insect bites, long gruelling ascents and descents, altitude sickness, heaps of animal doo, and an emergency camp night on the sloping side of a mountain ending in most of us curled up in the foetal position at the bottom of our tents.
BUT…these challenges paled into insignificance as we dealt with them under the motto of ‘expect the unexpected’ and soaked in the breathtaking mountain panoramas that surrounded us from day 1. Our spirits were soothed as we learned of the lives of the amazing Incas under the expert tuition of our ever-smiling guide Jose. We observed the reality of life for the farming families living in the very heart of the Andes and reflected on our lives of privilege.
As a team we drew strength from each other and supported one another as each faced personal challenges. There were no out of control egos and the ‘be positive’ attitude held strong even when the doubts crept in. We became a close knit family along with our gorgeous guides Javier and Jose, who took care of us every step of the way, kept our spirits high and shared in our experience with many shared laughs and magic moments.
One of our most treasured moments came on a day that involved a gruelling 11 hours of trekking with no flat sections. The day started at 5am with our smiling assistant chef Reuben greeting us at our tents with a warm cuppa. We began with a steep climb over a high pass above the remote Choquequirao Inca ruins then continued down the valley for 4hrs to the hot and dusty Rio Blanco canyon. Hot river rocks tested everyone’s balance and resolve as we longed for the promised lunch stop and swim. We headed towards our pack horses, drinking from the river far ahead of us and marvelled at the majestic canyon walls enclosing us. We were alone in this remarkable wilderness. A slight turn in the track and we were greeted by our smiling Reuben once again with a cool drink and a beautifully prepared lunch tent. Our oasis! We voted to head straight to the river to cool off and soak in the cool running waters that feed in to the Amazon. The connection to something much bigger than ourselves was tangible for some, for others it was heavenly relief from the stifling heat and yet others found it a precious moment to laugh with friends sharing a common journey.
There are so many stories to tell of this wonderful adventure. Congratulations Julie, Eileen, Shani, Melissa, Nicky, Helen, Sue and Toni on choosing to do something extraordinary. We have created memories for a lifetime.