Pisaq and Ollantaytamba


This was a day of seeing Inca ruins outside of Cuzco. But for me, it started out with Imodium. I have not acclimatized well and it is threatening the success if my Trek. Maggie is doing great! She seems to be acclimatizing and enjoying all we are doing.

Our first stop today was Pisaq. It is built high on the hills above the Sacred Valley. We were able to see the marvelous aqueducts and sun dials. There were lots and lots of stairs. My balance was precarious and gave me concern. Today, Julio would be judging my progress, acclimatization and whether my other issue all combined would cause them to scrap me from the trek. Unlike Everest, my slowness is a far bugger factor here.

We next travelled to a rescue organization. It was filled with Macaws, condors, deer, llamas and many more animals. Most would eventually be released back to the wild after healing from various injuries. Many of the former pet birds simply needed to grow their wings back.

Then it was off to lunch and great conversation. Before we headed to Ollantaytambo.

Little Girl in Ollantaytambo market.

Little Girl in Ollantaytambo market.

At Ollantaytambo there was a hike to the top but I was sent around the bottom. Again because my slowness impacted the whole group. So I saw all the fountains and buildings and hung out at the market. Even had a latte at The Bus Stop Cafe and had a great visit with the owners.

The others returned and we jumped in the van for our short ride to the Hoteles Hacienda Del Peru. We were given instructions about how everything would work going forward. It was at that time the guides decided I would not be trekking to Machu Picchu because they felt I would not be able to get through day two to Dead Woman’s Pass in time. So. Stay tuned for alternate plans and details!

Day One =Two Days in One


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Julio was our Guide for the City tours. He was amazing!

IMG_6117Today was long with travel from Vegas to Miami to Lima to Cuzco. I didn’t sleep much on the plane. We got to our hotel and waited about an hour and half for our room. While we waited we drank cup after cup of coca leaf tea. When our room was ready, we took a couple hour nap and were ready to hit it. Julio, our Cuzco guide, Julio,  met us at 12:45 and we headed out on foot for lunch. The 11,000 was evident as we huffed and puffed along. Our trek mates are a couple of nice guys. Jeff from Denver and Tom from New York. After that we toured Museo del Convento de Santo Domingo. A church/museum that was built on Inca foundation. It was amazing the stone work and trapezoidal architecture. After that we went to another wonderful church that was three churches built in succession. No pix allowed so I bought a book about it!

Inca Stone Work at Saqsaywaman

Inca Stone Work at Saqsaywaman

After that we went to Saqsaywaman to see some ruins. Let me just say, above the city and some inca steps and it was a lung buster for me. This raises concerns for both me and the guide as to how I will do.
We then went to dinner and enjoyed stories and good company. Pictures are not uploading so you will have to await an edit to see them. Bedtime. Tomorrow will tell me a lot about how the rest of my time here will go.

AND WE ARE OFF! PRE-FLIGHT TIDBITS


IMG_6106I am finishing packing and about to load Ace the Honda Pilot. I will  head on over to Maggie’s at noon.  From there, Jim will ferry us over to McCarran International Airport and send us off to Miami. We hit Miami, then Lima, Peru then Cuzco Peru and all the fun we have worked for will begin!!! I have had a few sleepless nights and frenetic moments this past week. Shirts coming in late, getting last minute details tied up and the dogs in order so they will be ready for the house sitter. I am really struggling with the weight limits for the porters and hope I got the gear trimmed down well. Today I checked the weather and it looks like the ten day forecast in Peru calls for rain. Every day that we are there. Rain gear packed and ready.

IMG_6097Things began to jell on Wednesday when we did shirt sorting and delivery. I was none too happy with TEESPRING as they messed up my order. Some shirts were missing and some were damaged. That can happen. The real disappointment was that they could not get anything fixed for two to three weeks. They did refund the money and wills still provide the replacement shirts. Just that some people won’t have them for the TOAST TWO AT DEAD WOMAN’S PASS and GET WRECKED AT THE RUINS events.

IMG_6092It was fun doing the t-shirt events. One at Barking Dogs, one at Starbucks and one at Sambalatte. Fun to see  people I haven’t seen face to face in some time and was great how enthusiastic they are about the trek. The Beesaws are planning a PCT through hike. Sarah Knipple is planning at least a section of the PCT. Dick and Natalie Dower are leaving a couple weeks after me to do their 10th year of 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. A climbing competition that is grueling, fun for them and the do fabulous things at it. IMG_6089 The weather forecast calls for rain throughout. At least some each day. But we have all the proper gear and the adventure is what ever gets thrown at us.

Maggie and I went to Creative Salon and got pedi’s. I had my nails done and a haircut. Gotta get it all whacked off when I know that I cannot wash it for a number of days. IMG_6105

 

Not much more for me to add right now. I am a bit anxious and also excited. I know things will be fun and experiences will be unique. I cannot wait to share pictures and stories with you all. Thanks so much for all the support and enthusiasm we have received from our friends and family. HERE WE GO!

Trail Canyon –Final Prep Hike


IMG_6073It is two years and two pants sizes since I went to Everest. I am none to happy about how I am leaving the USA but it is what it is. Today, Maggie and I headed off to our final preparatory hike before our departure. It was a great morning. Cool yet comfortable. I have been battling some ankle swelling and have been a bit concerned about that. But today was all about that last effort on home soil.

I had not gotten much sleep. I tossed and turned as my pups, for some reason, were at each other all night. usually they simply sleep with the occasional alerting because something outside catches their attention. But this particular night was different. Lots of banter and territorial growling with he occasional rough necking. All.Night.Long! Morning came and I drug myself from

Dog Jail.

Dog Jail.

bed and noticed Jack the older of my dogs was not his usual cheerful self. He kept looking out in the loft as if he were watching a ghost. I walk out there and there it is. The oat bar he had drug up after having gotten in my trekking duffel bag and taken out my trail bars! So that was the answer to all the trouble!!! I went downstairs to find them strewn about, unopened. Mystery solved, but that didn’t change the fact I was BEAT before we even began.

Xpectacular scenary.

Spectacular scenery.

Maggie got to the house and we loaded up ol’ Ace the Honda Pilot and set out for the trail-head. We yacked about the trip, how much packing we had to do, what tips we would have on hand for the porters and crew of Mountain Madness, are spa day at the end of the trip and other sundry topics as they randomly came to mind. Then we arrived at the trail-head and laced up our boots. We donned our packs and grabbed our poles and off we went.

Today’s hike was Trail Canyon. It is a two mile hike up hill, rated very strenuous. You gain about 1500 feet over the course of the trail. Though Maggie and I both felt Rain Tree was more difficult. But ut was quiet….for the most part…..and nice and really a good way to finish our preparations for Machu Picchu.

IMG_6064I told Maggie to hike her hike and pretty soon she was far enough ahead of me that I didn’t see her any nore. I made my way up trail in my own slow style, stopping to enjoy the surroundings and breathe in the fresh air of summer. The Aspen and Pine forest was filled with the sounds of birds and bugs and that was refreshing. Unfortunately there were a few groups of loud people that came through. One in particular was a gaggle of high school aged girls.

Back of the pack of hyena girls.

Back of the pack of hyena girls.

Maybe a dozen of them. None but a few even had water with them. But all the way up and down the trail they screamed as if they were being murdered just to hear the echo. Nobody leading them told them what bad trail etiquette it was to do that. The pushed passed and never said excuse me or thank you. Just hollering and yelping foolishly.

But they were not going to ruin a beautiful day of hiking for Maggie and Me.  We took in the day, thought about what was ahead of us and were both pretty happy with the day’s work. After the hike, we drove up to the Charleston Lodge where Maggie treated me to lunch and conversation. IMG_6068I have found a real friend in Maggie. She is a great adventure partner and we can both enjoy our hikes without expecting the other to “hike my way”.

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A fine meal with a fine friend!

So that is it. Over a year of training in various ways and times to get ready for this big trek. My second, Maggie’s first. The journey has been great. Ups downs ins outs. All part of the big thing called life and we are finding in our 50’s there is much of it to be lived.

 

And now, a few more pictures of that final hike:

 

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North Loop Raintree at Mt. Charleston


IMG_0351Maggie and I set out again for another run at the North Loop. This is her third, my second time heading up. It has altitude and steepness. Two things we need in preparation for the looming trek. First, thanks to Jim, her husband, for being so kind as to lend her to me today, the start of his fabulous birthday weekend!

So up we went and this time no hot spots on my heels. It is a steep 3 miles to the Raintree, a 3000 year old Bristle-cone Pine yes…I will wait while you read it again but it is true! The first section was much easier than last weekend. We hit the boyscout camp and had a snack and a rest and a great visit.  Then we hit the 7 sets of switchbacks! I am not gonna lie. This was a grueling section designed to brake me. And at several spots it nearly did. Today, Maggie decided to hang back with me and with my slow pace, that gave her a chance to drink in the beauty of the trail.IMG_0360 For me, as always, it was hard work. But that is what I signed up for.

A lot of the Bristle-cones are dead either from past fire or just life going out of them. The strike an ominous pose. They are so cool and eerie to look at!IMG_0358 Reminds me of Tim Burton movie art! Who knows, maybe he hiked these hills!

Once we got to the ridge which sits about 10,000 feet we rested again. I told Maggie I did not think I had any in the tank to drop down to the tree and come back up for our ultimate decent. But she kept encouraging me that that leg was nothing like the murderous switchbacks we had just finished. So I bit and dow to the rain tree we went. And I am so glad for her prodding me on because it truly is the tree of a lifetime!IMG_0380IMG_0373

We spent some time there just enjoying the day and headed back. We stopped back at the boy scout camp. IF you look closely, you will see the stratosphere tower! IMG_0400

We left there and all our media was threatening to die, so we hoofed it back without stops for additional pictures. It was a long day. A good day. One that gave lots of information to us for the final preparations for our IncaTrek!

Here are some more sights of the day…ENJOY!

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Only 8 more miles to the top of Charleston!

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Maggie in between the two trunks of the 3000 year old Rain Tree

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PEEKING!

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Close up of teh Bristle COne Pine in its prime….only several hundreed years old.

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View of Mummy through the Pines

You Can Be a Part of the Trek Too!


As I posted last time, we have shirts that you can buy to wear in support of our efforts in Peru. These are designed especially for our trek and we are selling them at the cost it takes to print them. Depending on the style, as low as $14.00 each! A Hanes hoodie is only $26.00. Still a few days to get your order in before we have to cut it off for printing. You can order them here.

We know that people often like to plan trips and sometimes cannot always fit them in to their schedule or budget. So we have a couple interactive events to hopefully draw you in to all the fun. I will be blogging live on the trip, though it will be a bit more silent while on the trail due to lack of signal. That is a buzz kill. But worry not! I will get word out somehow!

EVENT 1: TOAST TWO AT DEAD WOMAN’S PASS

Summit marker for Dead Woman's Pass at nearly 14,000 feet altitude.

Summit marker for Dead Woman’s Pass at nearly 14,000 feet altitude.

The first interactive event is on Wednesday September 3, 2014. If you order a shirt, put that thing on and get out and take a selfie of you and your friends. You can post to WhelanTrek on Facebook, My page or even just post. Be sure to use this hashtag; #incatrek2014 so we can gather them all up. Tweet me @WhelanTrek and hashtag it too. Send us a message. That will be one rough day of hiking so knowing you are all back here wearing your shirts and toasting 5,000 feet of elevation gain will speer us on. Even if you cannot or did not get a shirt, post away!

EVENT 2: GET WRECKED AT THE RUINS

This takes place on Friday, September 5, 2014. On this date we arrive at the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. That will be an emotionally filled day where we arrive, contemplate all it has taken to get there and think back on the planning and what motivated each of us to actually go. I had told myself that after dad had passed, I was going to go there so there will be a sadness knowing what had to happen to trigger this trip. But I will have him with me on my hat! I will also know that I struggled more on the trip because of my struggle with my weight and all that means in who I am. But I

The Ruins...NOW GO GET WRECKED!

The Ruins…NOW GO GET WRECKED!

will have accomplished something I never would have thought in my lifetime that I could do. Both physically and financially. I am blessed and want to share that feeling with you all on this event. So get your shirts, get a glass, fill it and KNOCK IT BACK! No shirt? get wrecked anyway and send us a message like the previous event. I am going to gather them all together and make a little book for Maggie and I to remember our trip and all the support from back home. You can post to WhelanTrek on Facebook, My page or even just post. Be sure to use this hashtag; #incatrek2014 so we can gather them all up. Tweet me @WhelanTrek and hashtag it too. Send us a message. Huq ratukama! (See you later)

IncaTrek Commemorative Interactive Shirt


So my friend Sonya Vasilief designed us a shirt for the trek. We launched a campaign on Teespring. Teespring is a site where you can put up a shirt, set a minimum sale and if you don’t meet it, you can walk away…nobody is out a dime. We set ours up at the cost Teespring charged for the shirt and printing.  I am quite happy about the shirts! We have v-neck tees, long sleeved tees, hoodies and woman’s fitted tees. You can get them in white or grey.  We have ten days to hit the minimum (or go over) and then it is sealed and printed. IF you want one and live in Vegas, you can save on shipping as you can just pick them up from me.  Here is the link to order INCATREK 2014 SHIRTS.

backThis is the back of the shirt. It actually shows the mileage per day, the altitude we are at and where we sleep. This is an INTERACTIVE shirt because when we are encouraging shirt purchasers to wear their shirt  for two events.

1) TOAST TWO ON DEAD WOMAN’ PASS on Wednesday night September 3, 2014. That will be to celebrate our conquering the near 14,000 foot elevation we will cross during that day’s hike,

2) GET WRECKED AT THE RUINS on Friday, September 4, 2014. That night, we will have completed all of the more than 30 miles and cray cray elevation us and downs of the trip. So once we are safe at our hotel at Agua Cliente, we will be relaxing with a coooooool libation and would like you to join us.

So on those two days, wear your shirts and join us by posting on our Facebook page at WhelanTrek or comment here at the blog.

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Time is limited as the campaign ends August 10, 2014 so that the shirts can get sent out in time to interact with us!  Thanks for all the support we are getting for this event. We love the encouragement an are looking forward to reporting all of the real time excitement back to you!

Packing Strategery and Language


mt-charleston_from_kyle01Maggie and I took a lunch run over to the outlet mall yesterday to the Columbia store and picked up a couple items at stellar prices.  We talked about the upcoming weekend hikes we will be doing up at Mt. Charleston between now and departure to get a little altitude in.

I have been going over the list provided by Mountain Madness to see what I already have and what I yet need to get. They state in their materials you must have everything on the list. When I went to Mt. Everest in 2012, I packed way too much. But I noticed today that aside from what we carry on our own backs for the day, the duffel our porter carries can only be 11 pounds! That is by Peruvian regulation! (He carries 44 pounds, so carries two people’s stuff and his own. We each are allowed 5 kilo’s of that space, so 11 pounds). That includes sleeping bag and sleeping pad. My Mountain Hardwear Lamina 35 weighs 2 pounds one once on its own! Add to that my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite pad is 12.7 oz.! With that gobbling up almost three pounds, all my cloths and electronics cannot weigh more than 7 more pounds.

Thought I might at least learn a couple Quechua words/phrases to show some respect to the locals. ¡Khali kaq kachun! ¡Prosit! mean Cheers! and Good Health!PERULADY

Some Quechua words I already knew but did not know their origin are: Condor, and Guano. Also Jerkey is Quechua for dried flesh. Then there are Puma, Quinoa and Cocaine…all Quechua as well.

I am told the people will speak Spanish and many will speak English. But half the fun is interacting with them on their terms as well.

So the last month push continues and it is an intense time of training, packing, evaluating and building excitement toward that day we board our American Airline plane and head off into the unknown. ¡Huq ratukama! (See you later)!

Baker Lake Flash Back


BAKERLAKEA couple years before I was born, my Grandfather and Grandmother Tarr (Moms parents) opened a resort at Baker Lake in Washington state. It was a fishing resort called Tarr’s Resort. It would be the central gathering point during the summer for the family through 1975, when my grandfather died there on the eve of selling it. It was rustic yet sparkling clean and tidy. There were “old” cabins from a location up lake that Grandpa hauled down to the new location and he also built several new cabins. In all, there were 13 cedar walled units and tons of camping spots. As kids it was a great place to explore the woods, learn about bears, pick huckleberries and swim in the glacier fed waters. A typical memory I have of “the lake” is gathering there

Camp Sites

Camp Sites

with extended family. As the adults reveled and told stories and ate and drank, we kids played outside late into the night. We would hear the voices of the adults as we scurried around the area hunting bullfrogs and creeping through the woods on the look out for the bears that frequently came in to get food from campers. It is where my love of being in the woods began.

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Charley Tarr. My beloved Grandfather circa 1972

We were given much latitude while there. My grandfather was not a fan of wimpy sniveling kids. He was a tough guy logger with a huge sense of humor. I loved every minute I spent with him. I would help him make “fish food” that campers bought to chum the fish into biting their line. I dug worms, repaired buildings, bailed and cleaned boats, pumped gasoline into five gallon cans for the vast amount of time there was no generator running to power the place.  Grandma was quiet and worked nonstop. I helped her clean cabins, make meals, bake pies, pick berries, pull weeds, wash cloths in an old wringer washer and do the dishes. Hard work was not lacking in my family and it is one of the lessons for which I am most grateful .

The last time I was at the lake was in 2007.  By then the Forest Service had taken over the resort and ran it. The amenities were dilapidated, but you could not take away the beauty of the lake. And sitting at the campfire with over 20 family members I had enjoyed that place wit was one of the best things ever. And when I went away, I was contented by the experiences there that had formed part of who I am.

My brother went to climb Mount Baker this week. He had no desire to go to the location where the resort once was. His pilgrimage would take him up on the mountain that looked over us all those years.  And while epic rain at base camp meant lots of snow up higher and too much likelihood of avalanche to attempt the summit, he was excited to have been there battling the elements.

There are places we go in our lives that become such a part of us that it is impossible to remove the memory of them. The smells and sounds are conjurable upon demand. Tarr’s Resort, Baker Lake is my childhood in so many ways. With the passing of so many who made it that, I find myself traveling back there in my mind ever so much more. If only to hear and see them all again in my mind’s eye.

Stand Up Paddle Board Workout!


Today was a fun day trying something I have not done before. Garage Gym 702 workout was at Lake Las Vegas where we did SUP or Stand-Up Paddle Boarding with SUPLV I have been wanting to do it for a long time. I have read a lot about them and know that because I am no small girl, I would need a big flat one to do my best. Especially having never done it. I saw they had on and tried to claim it. But when the instructor got to me they said no, you need a smaller one and put me on a nice sports car looking one where I thought I was more of a 7o’s era station wagon boarder. But they are the experts so I do what I am told.stand.up.paddle.board.hr-red

It was a wobbly proposition and as I was attempting to stand it was very hard to keep the board stable. I wobbled and wobbled and paddled and flailed until finally I was sailing through the air and into the briny deep. Well, the lake at least. As I came up from the depths the same person who told me I needed the small board had a wonderful and original idea….how about trying the bigger flatter board!!!! Thangs that make ya go huh.

Well up I went and this time I could actually keep up and the board moved through the water with ease. I had some five-toes footwear on and my Go-pro in my packet. Luckily it did not fall out when I took the plunge! I paddled confidently round the harbor, choosing not to go out into the chop as I knew the prospects of remounting the board in deeper water were zilch. It was a great feeling of all sorts of micro movement of my stabilizing muscles. Really working those out. My calf muscles too! Despite tons of walking and working out, and though my quads and arms and core were not feeling overly worked out, my calf muscles began to bur as if someone was lighting them with a blow torch.

LLV_bridgeAfter a good hard workout around the lagoon, I paddled in to the beach and then took an= relaxing swim. It was a fun day and after we were all safe and sound on land, we headed to The Omelet House for a great time of breakfast and craic! (Craic is Irish for fun talk and banter). There were about 12 of us and it was really an enjoyable time.

IMG_6138As the day wore on and I was doing stuff around The Doll House, I began to feel more and more of my core and shoulders reminding me of my morning of fun. By bedtime I knew that the morning must have been a lot more fun than I first realized. I took a walk in the light of the Super Moon and stretched things out a bit before bedtime.  It was a great day in the Vegas Valley. Low 100’s and less humid than the previouse monsoooooony week. I slept like a log and am ready to start my 75 squats for the day and see what else I can do to stay out of trouble.

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