After 2 days of intense hiking, we couldn’t help but shriek in excitement as we arrived at our final camp.
We were a mix of athletes, people with little to no outdoor experience, and others in the middle of the two extremes. The hike was a challenge for all.
We rounded the last twist of ancient Inca trail and the mountainside dropped off to our right. Straight ahead was a manmade ledge wide enough for a row of tents. The lush green valley stretched between mountain peaks that ran as far as vision allowed, no sign of mankind aside from our camp. The clear sky was a canvas overhead, sure to be a wonderous display of stars.
This was our final night on the ancient Inca Trail before reaching Machu Picchu. The determination, strength and command of each hiker over the trek is undeniable. Each overcame their own diversity, coming out visibly more confident and fulfilled than they were 3 days prior. From conquering camping outside for the first time to sickness and fear of heights, each hiker pushed through and overcame.
I can assure you none of us will tell you it was easy, and none of us would likely elect to do it again (3,000+ stairs in one day, anyone?) but we are all grateful we went, we conquered, and we grew.
If you’re ready for something new, to disconnect and reset with nature, consider a group hiking trip! It will challenge and change you, providing for amazing memories and once in a life-time experience.
What makes hiking so great?
My absolute favorite things about multiday hikes are:
- You are forced to unplug and be present. When is the last time you went 6 hours without touching your phone? Is there anything else in your life you’re so attached to? Whatever it is you’re addicted to, make this a time to reset from it and just be.
- Shifting landscapes. I can’t think of any other experiences that allow you to live the transition of ecosystems like multiday hikes. On one hike, you’re likely to experience rolling grasslands, lush forests, tropical and dewy cloud forests, rocky cliffsides that split open to lush valleys and depending on the altitude, snow! To look and follow a path to the horizon, knowing you traveled it or are about to, is such an amazing feat of man.
- The night sky. Remove all light pollution and you’re left with the most incredible twinkling canvas, a clear view of the milky way, and stars so bright you feel you may just be able to reach out and grab one. It’s indescribable and something I pray you experience in your lifetime.
- The transformation. This is hard to explain in one paragraph. As with any trial or new challenge, there are moments of gratitude, desperation and everything between. The most valuable lesson mountain climbing taught me is that no matter how big and overwhelming the task, as long as I keep moving forward, I will conquer. It’s increased confidence in too many areas to list.
- The people. Learning of the cultures that call the peaks home and how they integrated life together, almost like one wasn’t meant to exist without the other is wonderous. Seeing similarities in countries separated by miles and miles of ocean and living life with them for a few short days is something that lasts a lifetime.
- The food. The food is always unbelievably delicious. Popcorn is a global trail snack (also my favorite). In Peru, the chef and his team bake, ice, and decorate a cake with nothing but the supplies they carried in. Hot tea and coffee are staples, and calories are a thing of the past when you spend the day hiking allowing you to enjoy everything guilt-free.
Are you ready to give it a shot?