We are woken at 6am by Juan with a cup of coca tea. We pack our stuff and emerge for breakfast.
Day 2 is the difficult day of the trek. From our camp we ascend to 4200m above sea level at Dead Woman’s Pass. Then, 600m down the other side, before ascending the second pass at 4000m.
We had a bit of a head start on other groups by walking further on day 1. Still, the hike was literally 4 hours up steep stone steps. The altitude meant I had to stop and catch my breath every 30 steps or so.
Dead Woman’s Pass is so named because the mountain line apparently looks like a busty woman lying on her back. You need some serious imagination. Still, it was a relief to get to the top.
Then, over the other side. The trail here is steep, uneven steps. Your lungs get a break, but it’s tough on knees. A controlled fall is the easiest, but more risky, way down.
As we approached lunch the rain set in and didn’t let up.
We still had to make it to the campsite though, which was 3 hours and another 4000m pass away.
Surprisingly, the afternoon hike in the steady rain wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was fun. The rain had turned the trail into a river and strategising the best way forward was a bit of a novelty. Juan reckons it’s the heaviest rain on the trail he’s seen in years.
The rain stopped before we reached the campsite. Our dining table was set up outside overlooking a breathtaking vista. We were perched near the top of a canyon, filled with cloud, with snow capped peaks in the distance.
Look, the day was tough, especially up to Dead Woman’s Pass in the morning. But I really enjoyed the afternoon in the rain, and the reward at the end was great.
It just sucks that we need to wear these soaking shoes for another two days.