Depending on your level of physical fitness/attitude your experience may vary but I bet these 17 thoughts will cross your mind at some point on the 26 mile trek through the Andes that is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
1. Km 82 - Start of the Inca Trail
"I'm gonna rock this!"
2. Km 90 - Llactapata Ruins
"We are already at a ruin? This is so awesome!"
3. Km 91
"Oh, hey cow..."
4. Km 94 - First lunch break
"Is this real life? It's definitely not real camping. This food is delicious and there are plates and forks and a table! How do the porters carry all this when I can barely carry my 15L day pack?"
5. Km 96 - Start of Day 2
"What the f*** did I get myself into? I'm gonna barf. Today is gonna kick my butt. I hate Peru, I hate the stupid Incas with their stupid rocks and their stupid stairs."
6. Km 99 - Halfway up Dead Woman's Pass
"Seriously, only half way? Are you kidding me!? I have to go where? No, definitely can't make it up there. Nope. Leave me behind. I'll just wait here until they invent an escalator up to the top."
7. Km 100 - last climb to the pass
"Snow!? WTF. No one said there would be snow. I didn't sign up for snow."
8. Km 101 - Dead Woman's Pass 13,779ft
"Suck it mountain! I didn't die. I just kicked YOUR butt. What about that? What snow? I'm a freakin boss! Yaas Queen Yaas!"
9. Km 104 - The descent
"Wow! It's beautiful over here! If I can do that I can do anything. Let's play a game where we avoid all the green rocks. Race you!"
10. Km 108 - Runkuraqay Ruins
"OMG these Inca's were freakin geniuses. They used a code and cypher system with knots on ropes to carry encrypted messages from city to city? Dan Brown's gotta write his next book about this. Gotta remember to email him when I get back."
11. Km 110 - Sunset on Day 2
"Okay fine, all the shit I went through today, the bugs, the rain, the snow, the stairs, was all worth it for this view. This is why I travel, not because it is easy, but because it is hard."
12. Km 112 - Campsite Day 3
"Is this seriously the view we get to wake up to? Oh, and the porters wake us up with coca tea every morning? Yea, can we trek for another few days? I'm getting used to this life."
13. Km 118
"Down is SO much easier than up. I love down. Down is the best. I'm good at down."
14. Km 122 - Dinner on Night 3
"Sprinkles? A porter literally carried sprinkles 25 miles through the mountains so that my poached pear could look pretty? Makes. total. sense."
15. Km 125 - Top of the Monkey Steps
"Hand over foot up 3 stories of dizzyingly steep stairs? Yea, why not. We've come this far right? I am a champion. Hear me roar!"
16. Km 126 - The Sun Gate
"Did I actually just walk 25 miles through the sun, rain, cold, and snow to see a bunch of clouds!?! I know they talk about the cloud forest but this isn't fair. Maybe if I stare hard enough at the clouds, they will go away..."
17. Km 127 - Machu Picchu
"I MADE IT! Oh, it was so worth it, all of it! These day tourists may smell better than me but I appreciate being here more than they will ever know. I've been waiting my whole life to be in this breathtaking, awe inspiring, drop to your knees kind of special place. Out of my way selfie sticks, I've got a date with destiny!"
Have any thoughts to add to the list? Let me know in the comments section!
Go confidently travelers!