It doesn’t start well—I wake up at 4:30am unable to breathe through my nose, and with a cough. Davidson and I discuss this curveball to our Inca Trail strategy. “We’ll just go slow and try not to push it.” I guess we forget that the first day’s six-hour hike would be “pushing it” for someone with a cold or flu. On the bus, we meet 14 other trekkers—Canadians, Australians, Brits and fellow Yanks. Everyone seems excited, healthy and slightly nervous about our four-day trek.
During the hike, I feel a little breathless here and there and attribute it to the altitude. We generally keep up with the group, so I start to think that I might be able to beat the cold and do the Inca Trail. (Most experienced trekkers would probably consider this blindly optimistic or stupidly arrogant.)
At the end of the day, we are fed a three-course meal at a long table. Turns out Peru Treks provides a chef and sous chef as well as our two guides. We feel lucky. Davidson and I tuck in, and take wet wipe “showers” in our tent before turning in. Ordinarily, I would imagine the sweaty odours would offend me. But the ole’ nose can’t breathe or smell. Lucky? Maybe. Unfortch, I spend all night coughing and blowing my nose. Which means I barely sleep. I have a bad feeling that Day Two will not be so bearable.