So we survived and tomorrow will arrive at the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. This is the second scheduled event for those of you following us and having this great interactive experience from the comfort of your own easy chair. This will represent 5 days of hiking and climbing. Sleeping in tents. Eating out over a fire. No showers. We will accomplish what we have worked so hard on all these months and it will be bittersweet to see the adventure winding down. So lift a glass whilst donning your IncaTrek 2014 shirt if you have one. Get creative. Group shots, individual shots, just photo bomb us and enjoy it with us. We have so enjoyed the preparations, the discussions, the talking with all of you about our adventure and we want to enjoy the day knowing you all enjoyed it with us. We will hear the high winds carry the clink clink of your glasses across the miles into the high Andes and we will thank you all! This, like the last event post, has been pre-launched so we could remind you to get your trek on with us. We will post all we can in real time, depending on the technology available!
POST PICKS AT:
Karen A. Whelan facebook page
WhelantTrek facebook page
or WHELANTREK on instagram
and PLEASE use the hashtag #IncaTrek2014
Don’t forget! Wednesday the 3rd of September is TOAST TWO AT DEAD WOMAN’S PASS. Maggie and I will have hit the high altitude mark of the trek and survived Dead Woman’s Pass. It will be a hike of ours up stairs hewn by ancient Inca workers. It will crest at 13,800 ft high and then we will go down a knee pummeling steep trail to camp. So get your shirt out and wear it Wednesday and take a selfie or a video that you can post at Facebook and toast us! YES toast US! IF you have no IncaTrek 2014 shirt…wear another shirt and toast us anyway! When you post at:
Karen A. Whelan facebook page
WhelantTrek facebook page
or WHELANTREK on instagram
and PLEASE use the hashtag #IncaTrek2014
We love the fact that you guys are following us and we cannot wait to actually SEEEEEE the posts. This very blog entry is prewritten and auto-posting so we are not writing this post in real time.
I 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.
Things 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.
It 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. 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.
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!
Maggie 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. 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! 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!
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!
I got an email from Mountain Madness yesterday. I had to send them my flight itinerary and ask any questions I may have that they could assist with. As I fished out the itinerary from my old emails and looked at the flights and times and layovers the adventure adrenaline began to flow. It is on us folks and I am reminded that there is much to do besides get physically ready.
The first order of business is to make a list of things to accomplish. Things like: 1) prepare enough dog
food for the dogs for about 12 days. I have a special needs dog who has to eat certain food in a special chair. Which brings me to 2) train the house sitters on the care and feeding of Tashi Sherpa, my special needs Schipperke who has a disease called Megaesophagus. I have someone staying right at the house spoiling Tashi and Jack the entire time I am gone. Makes it much easier on the pups to be at home when I am gone that long. 3) Also train the sitter in how to determine if Tashi needs to go to the vet and how the insurance works for her.
The next task is 4) sort and organize gear so that I have everything I need and not more than I need. When I went to Everest, I took WAY too much and had to pare it all down after the first day on the trail. It is even more critical this trip because there are weight limits as to what you can carry and what a porter can carry. There is also the consideration of the plane and cost for luggage. I do not want a repeat of what happened in Hong Kong where my whole trip was nearly bagged by a sudden change in policy from one airline to the handoff to the next.
Item number 5) make a doctor appointment and get Diamox and antibiotics to take along. Diamox helps in case of altitude issues and antibiotics are used if Montazuma’s revenge (In this case, Huayna Capac’s). And I will need to do all the work on my calendar, get extensions or make arrangement with coworkers to cover for me. Just another reason to remain on good terms with them!
Next I will 6) need to pay ahead on my bills so I don’t come home to a foreclosure notice on my house or see my car is missing from the driveway. Though this is not a particularly long trip, I get nervous about that stuff and do not want to give it a second thought while I am gone. 7) Get cash for the trip and for the tips to the porters and guides. 8) Call credit card company and let them know I will be using my card out of the country. that Target fiasco has even made it more difficult to go outside your normal patterns of use than it was before.
9) make sure my Spot Connect is working and that I have an international wireless plan for the time I am on the trip. Update email list for those who wish to receive the emails in real time on my trek through the Spot Connect.
Well, that is what I can think of, which means there is much more to be done around work and fitness and hiking. But it is on like Donkey Kong and I am instantly excited that this train is speeding toward August 30, when ALL THE FUN WILL REALLY BEGIN!
Planning what I consider to be an epic adventure is not difficult, but keeping motivated along the way is. I am a procrastinator by nature…or habit. By some people’s measuring stick what I do is pretty simplistic. And, really it isn’t brain surgery. But it is pushing my limits and if I am pushing my limits it is just as adventurous as those who fly into space or dive to the bottom of the seas. That is part of what is good about life I can be thrilled by something inert to someone else who can be thrilled by something inert to me. While the Bible tells us there is nothing new under the sun and Mr. Burger taught me in 7th grade science that all mass that exists and ever will exist is here in the universe now, I can search for what parts of the mass which exists that is interesting to me. My Dad, rest his soul, had all the adventure he ever wanted in the Korean War. It changed him and he was not seeking anything really new after that. That was sad. He never understood why in tar-nation I did the things I did. In 6th grade when I went to a gun camp with the Janet Miller on Orcas Island, he was baffled why I would do that. When I went on a summer mission trip to the Philippines in college, he thought I was crazy. When I went to Mt. Everest in 2012 he was just plain worried sick. But he always admired those things after I was home safe. I guess the war just made him think that there was no place like home and everyone ought to be there!
So this upcoming trek is to Machu PIcchu. I watched a documentary called Keep the River to Your Right a few years back and thought it would be fun to go there. That guy is in his 70’s and he is doing just fine. I didn’t know until well after I booked the trek that he had simply taken a train in to the ruins. I will be walking for four days to get there. Will go over a pass at nearly 14,000 feet. Will sleep in tents and eat over a camp kitchen with porters and my friend Maggie. The planning for this began in Earnest about a year ago. That gave me plenty of time to get fit and thin. Or at least lose a good amount of weight.
I was off to a great start, but waned in the middle when I had two surgeries and the doldrums and a special needs puppy. So now I find myself with about 90 days to departure, in fair shape but heavy and mad at myself as I look to crack down for the next 90 days.
To accomplish this I am going to take on workouts and healthy eating not unlike the contestants in shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss. It will take accountability and dedication. I guess the kind a procrastinator musters when the going gets tough, read time is running out. Fast. Really fast. I have a home gym of my own. It is pretty well-appointed and kinda cool. Well, its hot now with temps outside in triple digits. No excuse. I can walk during work but it is hot. No excuse. I can give up sugar and grains and focus on paleo but I like a good desert now and again. No excuse.
I love my adventures. I am sure that the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek changed me in good ways I never would have experienced here in my little desert bubble. I am excited to find out how Peru will change me. What I will hear and see and what I can take back. Not in the way of souvenirs or photographs, but inside. But to even get there, to maximize my experience I will need to do this last leg of preparation like there is no tomorrow.