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Saturday 9th November 1985
Up at 5.30am to catch the train up the valley. The train climbs its way out of the Cusco bowl with a series of zig zags to gain height, through adobe and terracotta suburbs. Crosses on the top of the roofs to ward of earthquakes. After about 3 hours we are dropped of at Kilometer 88. Pay 105,00 for the start of the Inca Trail. Hot sunshine, the bright air crisped by the scent of eucalyptus. Change into shorts and get bitten by flies.
Leave the Urobamaba valley and turn right up the Cusichaca valley. At this junction we see some terracing and the steeply saved stone houses of pre Incan peoples. Site continuously occupied since these ancient times, unlike Macchu Picchu which was probably only occupied for 100 years. Several other hikers on the trail today. Chris and barbara in a yellow tent. Tom the 6'8" Dutchman, with Francesca the Italian fiancial advisor to a construction firm in Brazil.
After 5 miles hot walk through the alpine scenery we reach the small muddy village of Wayllabamba. Here we turn up a side valley along the Llullucha river. This leads up to the first high pass at 13,776'. We camp for the night a few hours before the pass, just above the tree line amongst some bogs and mountain cattle. Exhausted. That evening my pulse stays a thready 120bpm. Tom's pulse was a strong steady 60. At this height even walking slowly makes me breathless. Collect some wood. Eat spinach pie form the hare Krishna restaurant in Cusco. Heat up some soup, sing some songs and have a smoke.