After a rough night of battling the worst of my head cold and some altitude sickness, we began our fourth day of our Peru Trek from Salkantay to Machu Picchu with a steady climb to Warmiwañuska Pass, also known as Dead Women’s Pass. Though not as high as the first pass near Salkantay, Warmiwañuska Pass is the highest pass at 13,776 feet on the official Inca Trail.
Sadly, by this point, my entire body was swollen from the altitude changes and my eyes had become little slits. This definitely made the pass a little tough for me but the rest of the family did great. Our tour guide, Big Willy, took pity on me and stayed with me so the others could hike at a faster pace. Still, I didn’t let illness get in the way of enjoying the fabulous views. I definitely felt better on Day 1 and even though Day 2 had a higher elevation, I did better. Check out the hikes for those days as well as Day 3 by clicking the links.
It took us a little over an hour to climb over the pass where we rested and took photos. Then for the downhill portion. Paved in stones, the Inca Trail is a different hiking experience than we’re use to. The downhill portion of the hike was longer than the climb to the pass but the uneven stairs make the downhill hard on the legs from the constant pounding. Our descent took us into the beautiful Pacamayo Valley
We climbed a second pass on our day four. Halfway to the pass, we stopped at the Inca archeological site of Runkurakay. This site sites at 12,464 feet and contains a small oval structure believed to have served as a watchtower.
I liked that we got to learn a little bit about the Inca Empire while we visited ruins before we got to Machu Picchua. It was nice to have some of the ruins to ourselves and not have to fight the crowds.
After climbing 13,022 feet pass at Runkurakay, we made our descent toward Yanacocha (Black Lake) and entered the cloud forest.
As we made our descent, the archeological site of Saycamarca came into view. When we made it to the site we had plenty of time to explore.
Besides giving us a lot of information about the Inca people and what the archeological sites were used for, Big Willy, had fun with us too. In fact, the Auqui Peru Tour Group will always be highly recommended by us. Big Willy one of the oldest tour guides and many of the others have learned from him.
After we spent plenty of time at the site, we descended into the cloud forest for another 20 minutes.
When we reached our camp at Chaquicocha, our porters had already set up everything. We just had to enjoy afternoon tea time, a great book and then a four course dinner. I tried to think about how I was on one of my bucket list trips and not how sick I felt.