Day 6 – Crocodile Tears

I didn’t wake up overly tired on day six, which, when you consider how harrowing day five had been was a small miracle. However, a small insignificant sigh in the wrong tone set me off for about two hours. I was not ugly crying by any means, there were just small rivers of uncontrollable tears streaming down my face. I wanted them to stop, the tears were making Saul very uncomfortable, but I had no control over these tears. They were the tears of the overly tired and worn the fuck out. And again I found myself in a situation where the only way out was to go up. And up we went.
After I got my blood pumping, the tears slowed and eventually stopped. With a clear head I was able recognize my mistakes. In the cold chilly rain of the day before, I was so focused on the wet trail in front of me, I had neglected to take care of myself. I had not ingested a single salt pill, zero electrolytes, not one ounce of additional protein, goo, or gel – nothing. I was officially spent. It was a rookie move, and I know better, but it just goes to show how even experienced hikers get themselves into trouble.

Thankfully and because I’m super lucky, Day Six was a half day – for the most part. All we had to do was get to lunch, eat, nap, and then Saul our delightful guide had a “small surprise” for us. If you’ve been reading along, you will know that Saul’s surprises were always super cool, but were not free. We had to work for them.



Our first attraction of the day was Phuyupatamarca, a small, but mighty ruin.



Oh Good! More stairs. I was afraid we had run out.



A slow day made for looking at bugs and other interesting bits.


In the distance Intipata


We spent a lot of time at Intipata, sitting in the grass, and enjoying the warm sun. We had made good time getting there, and so needed to give our chefs time to prepare lunch for us, as well as the other two day groups that would be converging on the trail with us.



In the mountain opposite from the Inca plateaus you can see the trail coming up from the river. This is the trail that the two day treks take to Manchu Picchu.


After resting and exploring we headed to camp / lunch.

This is the only camp we didn’t take photos of. It was a super highway of porters, tents, tourists, and super stinky bathrooms. It was the Grand Central Station of pre-Manchu Picchu. It wasn’t noisy enough to prevent me from taking a nap though I promise you that! After a HUGE farewell lunch I napped for a good two hours. Saul woke us up to go see his surprise. We almost blew him off in favor of a continued nap, but he promised us it would be worth it, and he was so right.

We went to Peru with the intention of going to Manchu Picchu, but I have to say Winay Wayna was by far my favorite place on the entire trek, and it wasn’t just because of the baby llama. It might be because of the baby llama.





An entire family of llamas lives at this site , cutting the grass, and maintaining the site.



OMG! He was SO CUTE!!!



I was not shaking at all when I took this photo.

At this point day six had been the best day ever, and then it got even better!


Our wonderful chef made Matt a birthday cake and it was GF too! Such an amazing company! If you ever go to Peru book with Alpaca Expeditions!


Protein Powder is Life

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on Monday evening, and I am staying with my most delightful friends John (JN) and Ella. You might remember Ella from my first post, she has mostly forgiven me for blatantly trying to use her as my personal guide to Peru. I am staying with them for two weeks, or until they start hinting wildly that it’s time for me and my little black dog to move along. When JN picked me up from the MAX line station his first question after our hellos and hugs, was – “Are you eating all healthy now that you are training, or do we still get to do our Portland food tour as per usual?”  I laughed and laughed and said, “JN have you met me!?! Of course, we are going to do our food tour! It’s why I’m here, it’s what I live for.” He was visibly relieved.  What you need to understand about JN is that he is man with an iron stomach and he loves to eat! As do I, but unfortunately my stomach is not bullet proof like his. First stop was ?Por Que No? a famous Portland taqueria that has the best tacos I’ve ever had in my entire life! Their tortilla chips are so crispy, crunchy, salty and oh so good! After fighting JN for the last few chips in the basket, I then stuffed down two Pescado #1 tacos, and the special taco of the day – I don’t remember the name, I just crammed it in my face. We mowed those tacos. Today’s destination will be Salt and Straw the best ice cream in the whole world! I love Portland.

Later that evening as I lay flopped on the couch, groaning in pain and massaging the taco baby in my belly I started thinking more about JN’s question.  I had to admit that yes, our eating habits had actually changed quite a bit in the last few months. For starters the amount of protein powder that is being consumed is off the charts! I feel hungry all day if I don’t have a protein shake after a workout. Nuun hydration tablets, and SaltStick pills are another new staple. Those were the first few changes. They didn’t feel major, but they were the gateway for the many changes to come.

Friday nights we used to cook a larger meal after a week of rushed slam-it-together dinners. Friday dinner was maybe steak and potatoes, pork chops, a hearty pasta dish, or something along these lines. Now that I am doing long runs on Saturday morning and getting up at the crack of dawn to do so, I can’t eat a heavy meal the night before. Our Friday night meal has become a grilled chicken breast, a side of veggies, and brace yourselves…no ice cream. I don’t know that this is “living my best life”. Who goes to bed without ice cream? And really when did a pint of ice cream last more than a week in our house?! I sincerely don’t recognize the people we’ve become.

Another change, that I don’t actually mind is breakfast. Matt used to skip it all together, now he eats every morning, generally eggs. I used to have a yogurt with a handful of granola for crunch, or a small bowl of oatmeal. Now I’m eating a double serving of plain Greek yogurt, with a whole sliced banana, a fistful of blueberries, a few strawberries -when they were in season, a fistful of mixed nuts, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a swirl of honey. It actually takes a while to eat it all, but after a big workout I’m still hungry only a few hours later. That’s where an apple with mega schmears of peanut butter come into play. It’s fast, has lots of protein, and when I’m in that freak out hungry mode it goes down quick.

Lunch for me used to be frozen mac and cheese, or something equally as heavy and cheese laden. Now my go-to is salad greens with an entire avocado, a hard-boiled egg, a peach, sliced almonds, and goat cheese. Matt used to go out to eat for lunch most days, or skip it, and then come home ravenous and hangry. Now he is packing fruit, string cheese, nuts, and making lettuce wraps.

Snacks used to be an entire bag of popcorn, now snacks are an entire bag of popcorn and an apple with peanutbutter.

With all the fresh fruit and veggies and $27 cans of protein powder being consumed, you’d think our grocery bill would be sky rocketing right about now, but in reality it’s about the same. We aren’t buying thick cuts of meat, ice cream, organic frozen mac and cheese (which isn’t free, btw), or multiple bags of popcorn. I do miss ice cream and GF frozen donuts, but I don’t feel terrible. In fact, I feel pretty good, and my run time is getting faster.

Obviously, none of the above is going to stop me from stuffing myself silly with all of the wonderful things Portland food trucks offer, but everyone knew that. Please bear with me while this becomes a food blog for the next 10 days. I’ll do my best to post photos from the upcoming Mt. Hood hike we are planning in the midst of the feeding frenzy.