Emma and I have signed up to do the Machu Picchu trek in Peru in mid-June with Intrepid.
Having some experience with hiking in Nepal, India and a good bit locally it did not occur to me that this may pose a significant physical challenge. Take some meds for altitude sickness, grit-teeth through some steady uphill staggers and BAM – through the sun gate for sunrise.
However Emma, being ever conscientious, started reading blogs. Including this one.
Which includes this most-excellent line:
“We could tell we were out of our league when we showed up to our debriefing session at Alpaca Expeditions the night before the start of the hike. Everyone but us was in perfect shape. You could just see rippling abs bulging out from every Patagonia and North Face jacket in the room. One guy was casually telling stories about various marathons he’d completed and the time he summitted Mount Fuji. Another couple was late to arrive because they were finishing up another multi-day trek. It was like walking into a Cross-Fit gym in stained sweats holding a donut and a milkshake. We were in way over our heads.
Oh. Holy. Forkballs.
This couple were turned back after the first day. A couple. Who had hiked much. And were seasoned travellers.
So Emma and I now have 20 weeks including 46 days off to get into training and smash out a great deal of walking.
Our weekends have gotta start looking like Frodo and Samwise, with Zeus in the role of Smeagol.
So last weekend started with a round loop of Lesmurdie Falls. We had intended Ellis Brook but it doesn’t actually open until 8am and we were up early to try and beat the heat.
Zeus was unimpressed about having to be photographed but he coped, and it was a good 7000-step hike with enough steady uphill for Emma’s iwatch to give her a gold star. Or whatever those things do.
Fast forward through the week and I returned to the safety of the rowing machine and High-Intensity Interval Training. Emma managed to sort some quality gym time whilst commuting to-and-from Sydney.
Now as I write this, it’s hotter than Hades in Perth with 39 today and 40 tomorrow. Zeus is melting. Our original plan to do Lions Lookout which is also down near Lesmurdie had to be scrapped as it doesn’t seem to be dog-friendly.
So we skipped that and headed further south to do a section of the 21km Kwinana Loop. Emma has nice new hiking boots – mine are still the same ones that came around Australia, through Nepal and everywhere in between with me. If they make it through Machu Picchu, I intend to leave them in Peru and use the spare baggage space for retail therapy.
It wasn’t a bad hike – I think we clocked about 7000 steps before we called it – but certainly didn’t have the gradient to really count as proper practice. That said, he had we gone any harder my hike would have been supplemented by dog transport and Zeus did protest at the turn-around point and flop down in the shade.
Plus, it would be really handy if these places had better designations on Google Maps… it was actually a bit of a challenge to find our way in, a little like the Trigg Bushland Reserve where there’s no real easy obvious way *in*.
Tomorrow morning the intend is to smash out a few circuits of the Kokoda Track in Kings Park. This 150-step climb negotiates the same incline as the more infamous Jacob’s Ladder however the variability of the trail should provide us with better training.
Zeus is not yet award this is the plan, or that I’m intending to come and do this one with us also.
Given it’s going to be 40 degrees, I think it will be immediate beach session afterwards.
In an effort to put our minds at ease, I have bashed out a calendar for the ensuing 46 days of hiking and am about to start planning an Easter hike option (if anyone has ideas let me know) and potential camping trip to Dwellingup.
Meanwhile the interwebs has helpfully told me that swimming can help training for altitude. On a purely aesthetic basis I haven’t been swimming much because my hair is a nuisance (I promise myself my life would never come to this but it has…) so I have scheduled a ramp-up in swimming from May onwards.