Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Porter

As I have mentioned before, I was nervous to hike the Inca Trail. I need to lose more weight and until this past January, my exercising was sporadic at best. It was a challenge and I came up with a plan to get ready. I am happy with what I accomplished. Maybe I could have done more, but I had prayed that what I was doing would be enough and it was.

Anyway, the day before the hike, we ran into some people in Cusco who had just finished the hike (only they did it in 3 days, not 4) and they kind of freaked us out just a little bit by telling us how hard it was. It did not help the nerves at all. Sunday night I think I might have gotten 2 hours of sleep but I doubt it was that much. So on Monday we were up and ready to go by 4:00 am and I was running on adrenaline. It kept me going all morning, but I was running out of energy fast. I was also used to exercising on an empty stomach and it was hard for me to force down food at lunch so I know I didn’t eat enough. I was definitely not feeling my best.
After lunch, we had a 4-5 hour hike all uphill to get to our camping spot for the night. My sister went on ahead because she wanted to challenge herself and I didn’t need her right there with me. We were only a couple hours in when I really started to not feel well. I just kept going because I had to, but eventually I ran out of steam. I got really dizzy and had to lean against a rock. Then my blood pressure dropped and I almost passed out. I started shaking and I sat down on the side of the trail and leaned against my backpack. Two of my fellow hikers came up the trail and stopped to help me. I put my fleece jacket on and they fed me candy bars and one of them went ahead and brought our guide, Edwin, back down to help me. Edwin took my blood pressure and sat with me until my color came back and I felt like I could get up. He walked with me a little bit farther and then I stopped to rest again because I didn’t feel good. Edwin gave me my options: I could either keep hiking up the mountain for another couple hours or I could stop and spend the night there and turn around in the morning. I would still be able to get the train and meet the group at Machu Picchu on Thursday. He wanted me to make the choice because I knew what I was capable of more than he was. I made the choice pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to stop but it still took me some time to let him know. I didn’t want to quit, but I also didn’t want to have to hike anymore that day.

So I started walking again. It got dark and I had to get my headlamp out. Thinking about it now, I’m glad I couldn’t see very far up the stairs. It was easier to hike them just taking a few at a time. Edwin had a porter come down from camp and made me give up my backpack. The porter hiked the rest of the way with me, carrying my pack and stopping whenever I wanted water from my hose. Edwin went on ahead so it was just the two of us. I started practicing my very bad Spanish on him since he didn’t speak English. I bet he thought I was crazy but it was actually almost kind of fun and gave me something to concentrate on besides the stairs.

He seriously has no idea how much I appreciated his help that evening. Muchas gracias just doesn’t cut it and that’s all I could say to him. The rest of the trip Edwin referred to him as “my porter”.  I was able to give him a hug and an extra tip our last night at camp. It really doesn’t seem enough. His name is Joselito and I’ve probably spelled it wrong and he has no idea that he impacted my life so much. Ha ha… he might have been helping me under duress for all I know.  The most I can do now is pray for him and trust God to take care of him. He doesn’t know it, but he has a friend for life even though I’ll probably never see him again.

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