Inca Trail Photo Journal

July 23, 2015

Words by Sacred Rides’ Rid­er Peter Mills, as told through dai­ly Face­book posts (and repost­ed with his permission).

Day 1: The adven­ture has begun, time for some amaz­ing bik­ing on the trails around the moun­tains of Peru with our Sacred Rides’ guides Gio­van­ni and Wayo.

Day 2: We had one hell of a day. With­out a doubt the hard­est climb I have ever done in my life and reward­ed with some seri­ous­ly fast down­hill at the end.

Day 3: Hol­ly crap! Yes­ter­day was sim­ply insane but in an epic way. Basi­cal­ly 50km descent from the Andes down a trail called the Olleros. The first 20km was tech­ni­cal down­hill and the last 30km was fast paced flat­lands back down to the sea. This was one heck of an expe­ri­ence, real­ly could­n’t have hoped for any­thing bet­ter! Hol­ly cow, what a day it was! Bring on today, aww yeah!

Day 4: Sooo. I said ear­li­er that I had done the hard­est climb of my life… Well, that climb has been belit­tled by today’s ride, and in a big way too. It seems each day the rides get tougher and tougher. Today’s shut­tle to 3900 meters proved dif­fi­cult for me to even put sen­tences togeth­er, let alone catch my breath. Our guide urged me to to suck on some coca leaves to take the alti­tude sick­ness away, he even made me take the bag of leaves with me.

After prep­ping our bags we hiked the bikes an addi­tion­al 300 meters before there was a descent. At the high­est point, we all had coca leaves in our mouths to bat­tle the symp­toms of alti­tude. From this point of the ride we were descend­ing and climb­ing on and off the whole way (about 25km) until we reached the Devil’s Bal­cony which is locat­ed in Cha­can, that place was beautiful!

All in all it was one hell of a tough day but also super reward­ing. I hon­est­ly don’t know how I man­aged, feel­ing proud that I did though!

Day 5: Today start­ed off in the Sacred Val­ley where our Sacred Rides Moun­tain Bike Adven­tures Guide “Wayo” lives, it has an alti­tude of 3,700 meters (12,138 ft.) which gave us views and scenery that left me in awe. We tra­versed across agri­cul­tur­al farms, through lit­tle vil­lages and passed around Lake Huay­po until we final­ly arrived in Moray which required a 10 km gru­el­ing uphill climb where I made a new canine friend. At the top we all chowed down on the food Way­o’s wife cooked, it was seri­ous­ly tasty. Then final­ly came the best part of the day, once we reached the town of Maras we had an epic down­hill sec­tion that took us past some old Inca salt mines until we made it to the bot­tom of the val­ley. In total this awe­some ride was about 38km.

After the ride we were shut­tled to our new hotel, to our sur­prise we all got our own lit­tle hous­es, I put my bags inside and went out­side only to see a dou­ble rain­bow through the val­ley. The pho­to was tak­en from the front door of my lit­tle house, you can see the hotel grounds with the dou­ble rain­bow in the mid­dle, sim­ply stunning!

There are only 3 days left of which 2 days are bik­ing. As the days slow­ly pass and the end of this amaz­ing adven­ture hol­i­day creeps in, all I can do is think back and smile about what we have expe­ri­enced so far. Bring on the next amaz­ing day!

Day 6: Today was an epic day out, they call it a rest day but real­ly it was a hike around Machu Pic­chu city. We had a guide called Mario. and no Lui­gi wasn’t there too. He showed us around the city and explained a lot about the Inca’s life on the moun­tain. That place was sim­ply stun­ning, real­ly is hard to get your head around the whole idea of build­ing a city on top of a moun­tain, and as if that was­n’t enough to make you won­der about the civ­i­liza­tion, the way they build is sim­ply amaz­ing, espe­cial­ly when you see the sun tem­ple, wow! It would be dif­fi­cult to build that even with today’s technology.

After Machu Pic­chu we went to the town below to have a drink, eat some food and check out the shops. What a day!

Day 7: This day has a rep­u­ta­tion for break­ing the rid­er, for push­ing them past their lim­its. Boy oh boy did they deliv­er on that! We start­ed off at an alti­tude of 4,400 meters. We were in the clouds for the best part of an hour and it was seri­ous­ly cold and wet, but our group sucked it up and went for it! We tra­versed through some mud­dy parts of the moun­tains, down trails with seri­ous expo­sure… but then you see the stun­ning views and feel the flow of the sin­gle track and you realise ‘how amazing!’

We rode through fields with alpaca and through some lit­tle towns until we reached a town where we had our lunch, but this wasn’t just any ordi­nary lunch… It was a tra­di­tion­al Peru­vian meal that is only eat­en on spe­cial occa­sions. The meal con­sist­ed of a very tasty corn tor­tilla, veg­etable soup and get this… guinea pig! After the deli­cious meal, we went out­side to get on the bikes to con­tin­ue the ride only to be greet­ed by the local chil­dren that were super cute and very curi­ous of our bikes and mobile phones.

Once the kids had their excite­ment we con­tin­ued to descend into the val­ley where we met our shut­tle bus, we stocked up on water sup­plies and snacks ready to tack­le.. yes.. I’m gonna say it again for the last time this vaca­tion… the hard­est climb of my life!! I did­n’t give up though, I man­aged to make it to the top where one of the old­est Inca forts ever dis­cov­ered was found, it pre-dat­ed Machu Pic­chu!! I real­ly can’t believe it, that climb very near broke me! But it was so reward­ing. After that, we descend­ed an epic trail as the sun was set­ting. Look­ing back, boy was it ever worth it!!

Day 8: The last ride of the vaca­tion has arrived (frown emoti­con). We were all promised by Wayo that there would be 0 up hill, he total­ly deliv­ered. The ride start­ed at an alti­tude of 4500 meters. The blue skies, cold crisp air, friend­ly alpacas, grace­ful rivers and lazy water­falls, rocky moun­tains and kind locals were all wait­ing for us.

Straight away it was a steep descent on a loose rocky sur­face that would make any­one think twice, the trail quick­ly changed to moss and sin­gle track with the occa­sion­al mud­dy pud­dle and expo­sure. Fol­low­ing the tech­ni­cal trail down into the val­ley we joined an old Inca trail… it had sec­tions of cob­ble stone that was fast paced and steps to jump down which gave me such a rush… espe­cial­ly on the Piv­ot Mach 6 bike. Then final­ly into a very snug val­ley with steep rocky walls and a beau­ti­ful riv­er that was more like a lazy water­fall. If I had the time I could have just relaxed by the riv­er for a few hours to take it all in, but we did­n’t… the trails were calling!

We con­tin­ued to descend, cross­ing it back and forth until we came across some rough rock gar­dens that required a cer­tain amount of skill… the amount I wasn’t sure I had, it was very tricky but I just about man­aged. From there we moved onto anoth­er Inca trail again that had some real­ly amaz­ing high-speed jumps that the Piv­ot ate up with ease. From there we fol­lowed a water canal that feeds the farms with water, the sin­gle track at this point has some very scary expo­sure that offered up views and scenery that left me in awe, we fol­lowed the canal until we reached a sec­tion of high speed down­hill and more jumps until we reached Cal­ca where our shut­tle then took us to lunch. Wayo real­ly did deliv­er today, I loved every minute of this ride… I think it might just be my favorite ride of the whole trip, I’m real­ly not sure how it could have been better!

I want to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to thank the entire Sacred Rides team for mak­ing this hap­pen, it real­ly was an amaz­ing adven­ture and I’ll nev­er for­get it for the rest of my life.

Want to live this incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence for your­self?  Head over to the Inca Trail All-Moun­tain Page and check Peru off your buck­et list pronto!