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!
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
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
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)
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.
This 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.
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!
Maggie 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.
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)!
Several years ago, when I first started my Facebook account, I reacquainted with many old friends from Seattle. I had already decided I was going to do the Everest Base Camp Trek before that. So when I got on Facebook, I moved some of my hike stories over and started doing Facebook “NOTES” on each of my preparatory hikes. Then I migrated them to the blogs.
One friend I reconnected with was Sonya Vasilief. We met in 7th grade home room. She was a “V” and I was a “W” so we were destined to be in homeroom together for the rest of school. Well, as long as we had home rooms at any rate. I don’t recall having them in High School.
After getting back to talking on Facebook and the Phone, Sonya came down to Vegas to visit me in 2011. We had great fun and one of the days she was here we did the Calico Tanks hike out at the Red Rock National Conservation Area. It is a pretty little hike. Not too long, not too hard but the payoff views are great.
Around that same time I was also getting re-acquainted with an old school chum, Lee Markesun. He was a year older than I and we shared the same birthday. We would talk about music and he would tell me about his life and how much I
would like his wife if I ever met her. She was doing a lot of biking and really enjoying it. So she and I became friends on Facebook. Almost a year had passed since Sonya’s visit and she we talked about her coming down again. for 2012. We also talked about including Lee’s wife Kelli. So that fall the two of them came down. We did the tourist thing and also did that Calico Tanks hike again. We all became fast friends and it was almost as if Kelli had been part of our life growing up too.
The next year, 2013, Kelli and Sonya came back. But this time we didn’t do any tourist stuff. Instead, we took off to Death Valley for a day of hiking and watching. After that 14 hour day, we were back snug in our Beds at The Doll House so that we could get up VERY early and go Kayak 12 miles down Black Canyon below the Hoover (Boulder) Dam. It was two days of soooo much fun! We were barely done before we were planning the next year.
In 2013 we decided that we would do some things around town and then head up early one morning to Zion and hike the famous Narrows, coming back that night. It was an ambitious undertaking. This time we added my work friend Maggie. Maggie will be going with me to Machu Picchu in 2014. It was a short hiking window by the time we drove up, got our gear and got into the park. And from there you had to take a park bust to the trail head. Up we went and it was UH-MAZE-ING! We didn’t make it all the way up before our turnaround time, but all in all we got in six or so miles in the river rock and water!
The Three Amigas, to me, Is not me, Sonya and Kelli as much as it is Sonya Kelli and Maggie being cherished friends to me. You can count your friends on one hand. These gals are part of a very small group of people that I really do hold in the biggest part of my friend compartment of my heart. TREK ON MY FRIENDS! ARRRRRIBA!
Paul Fussell wrote that the speed of modern travel resulted in the mind being left behind. Without even knowing about what he wrote I somehow already realized that fact. But it is not practical to revert back to forms of primitive travel in order to get the mind right for an upcoming adventure. I have heard people really love cruise vacations where they are on ship and then arrive at ports of call and tour them. Perhaps the subliminal reason for the additional enjoyment is this very thing.
I have compensated for this by reading about my destinations for a long time leading up to departure. Everest was easy. I had read almost everything known to mankind regarding Everest over decades preceding my trip. Watched every movie and documentary too. Even poorly made ones like EVEREST, staring William Shatner and that Beverly Hills 90210 guy Jason Priestly. I think the only reason Shatner was in it was because it was about Canadian climbers and was so low budget that nobody would watch it without a name like his attached. Likewise for Priestley’s participation.
For my upcoming trip, I had only a cursory knowledge of Peru and its ancient Inca civilization. I had a class in undergrad that made me a little more aware of the Aztecs and Incas in the Americas. I had seen a documentary or two but I was a passive participant. When I had announced to the family that I would do the Inca Trail I had no idea what I did not know. My brother gave me the gift of the book “Turn Right at Machu Picchu”. It was a difficult read because the author simply sucked. In between the information about Hiram Bingham, his own story about him and his son retracing Bingham’s steps to discovery was flat, boring, corny and dull. Yes. All of those. Then one of my online friends at Trailspace who had been to Machu Picchu suggested I read “The White Rock” by Hugh Thomson. So I did. And I also read “A Sacred Landscape”, also by Thomson. I was thrown into the world that I soon would be visiting with full force. Both books were packed with history, geography, angst and adventure. I have started to be able to see the environs and the people in my minds eye. I hear their music. No, I do. Because I have several cds on my iPod with traditional pan flute music. FACTOID: Simon and Garfunkle’s song “If I Could” is actually an old Peruvian traditional song called El Condor Pasa“. Oh. You knew that already? I didn’t. That is how little I know of anything Peruvian.
Another pop culture fact a out Machu Picchu has to do with the persona of Hiram Bingham. The lead character in Raiders of the Lost Ark played by Harrison Ford is fashioned after him. Right down to the hat. I have one of those hats to bring with me for the trip! I am silly like that.
So with a little more than two months before Maggie and I get on the plane and make our way south, through Miami, to Lima and then on to Cusco, I am reading books, watching documentaries and listening to music. There will be no danger of me leaving my mind behind!
As the trek to Machu Picchu approaches, I am evaluating my tech gadgetry that will accompany me on the trip. It is important to take the things you think you need. Last time, I did not take my head phones on the trail. I lent them to someone who listened to her iPod the whole trek long. I have no judgment of that because each person’s trek is a personal journey. Some people think it sacrilegious to listen to your iPod (in the olden days Walkman) when you are in the wilderness. I think, like all things, it depends. In this case it is all about doing what YOU want to do. So this time, I may use them. I KNOW I will use them on the plane so the first thing I will take is my Bose Earbuds. These don’t give me that bruised feeling every other in ear bud has in the past. I intend to use them on the plane and maybe in the evenings. I likely will not listen on trail because I do enjoy just being out there and hearing the sounds that go with the sights.
The next piece of gear will be my kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I mostly am a book purist who loves the smell of Barnes and Noble as well as the sound of pages turning in a real book. I love dog ears and broken backs and spilled coffee with margin notes. My favorite thing is looking back at law books and seeing margins filled to the brim with color coded notes. But I also like the kindle.
It is great for travel and reading outside in the sun. I have a very regulated limit of weight to bring so this will be down with my kindle paper white that holds a charge a good month or more even with heavy reading. It also takes up very little space in my carry on and in the tent when I will use it. Maybe. That is if I can even stay awake after long days on the trail. Then again, on the plane it will be a welcome way to pass the 14 or so hours!
Of course, one of the most important pieces of gear on the last trek was my Spot Connect! Important in that it was a fun interactive way to let my friends back home spot me on the Google Maps and see where I was at the end of each day…that is until I dropped the needed iPhone into the squat toilet and ended my ability to connect the spot and therefor transfer
the coordinates to the satellite. But the spot connect is a fun way to map any trip. It is also a nice tool for hikers who are lost to be located on their hikes. But nothing to depend on because anything could happen to technology and POOF it is gone. Rain, Squat Toilets, Drop it in a ravine…..
After the Spot Connect I guess I must mention my iPhone. That is a great tool for connecting to the Spot as mentioned above as well as taking quick pictures and videos. It can also be used to blog and text home if I need my sis to intervene in the blogging like last time. She was a pretty good guest blogger. My iPhone is a 4S. I had lost the 4 in Nepal and got a new 4S upon arrival back in the good ol’ USA. But that 4S died less than a year later and Apple replaced it with this 4S which is now on its last legs. Funny that this extremely expensive technology seems to last about a year. And if it lasts longer, they find a way to obsolete it by not supporting it with updates.
Because I have NO charging for the Inca trail days, I will get a device that is a backup battery to charge my devices. Yes. It has come to that. This is a device I did not have in Nepal and have relied on all my pals at Trailspace.com to decide to get one. Those gues know life on the trail so I trust them. I took solar last time but it was not easy to use and weather impeded use of it on those blizzard days. This should be a much better choice for the short trip I will be on. I am opting for the ANKAR Astro Pro2. It should be able to charge my phone at least 10 times, which is far more than I will need.
After the iPhone the next bit of tech will be my MacBook pro! Yes, it rode the back of a yak to nearly 18000 feet and I know it can make it on the back of a porter or llama too! This will get less use as I will not have charging capabilities on the trail. But I will blog none the less and just knowing that is with me gives me the chance to write up a storm without the dang thumbs on an iPhone performing more errors than can be counted on hands and toes!
Now it is on to the big guns of photography. I will be bringing my Canon 60 D. I love this camera! It has 18 megapixel processor. Now, you might say that many phone cams are getting just as big. While the numbers are catching up, the processors are not. So don’t just listen to the number of megapixels. The processor is a CMOS Sensor whereas the processor in my iPhone is a version of their iSight external camera used for face time and chat in older formats. Nothing really special there. So the Canon 60D will get me some mad pix of the ruins, the environment and the people. It also shoots full 1080p HD video and the image stabilization is far superior to the iPhone videos. I get a lot of pleasure out of knowing this camera was by my side all the way to Everest Base Camp and will now shoot up Peru!
Of course, my favorite brand new addition to the 60D is a telephoto lens I picked up gently used and at a great price. This will be awesome for picking out the ruins around Machu Picchu that are lined up for whatever purpose the Inca spent all their time lining stuff up. So this bad boy may reveal things heretofore unknown to man. Well, that really isn’t likely. But I wanted to use the word heretofore.
One last item to bring: I will bring the ever popular GoPro camera. Two actually. I love these little cameras. I have mounts for my head and my chest, a grip and boom. They can capture wide angle and get some pretty nice video all along the way and at the ruins as well. They are light too. The batteries are sketchy, but I will get what I can out of them.
So, there you have it. That is what I am dragging up Dead Woman’s Pass with me on my 2014 Machu Picchu Deluxe trek! I thought I may bring a change of cloths or two as well. Stay tuned as I continue to gear up for this once in a lifetime trek!
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!