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Just how hard is the Classic Inca trail hike?

kcmo
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253 posts
4 reviews
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Just how hard is the Classic Inca trail hike?

We plan to train for this hike- we're 60 and in good shape and will try our best to be ready--but with altitude of up to 15,000 feet and some quite steep sections, we're not sure if this is a good idea or not. Would like to hear from other flatlanders past middle age who've done it!

Fox Island...
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1. Re: Just how hard is the Classic Inca trail hike?

I did the trail last year when I was 50. I am also in good shape and live at sea level. It was tough! It was harder than I planned on. I did train for about 3 months, climbed a nearby mountain til I could go up 2000' in 1 1/2 hours. I thought I was doing good. But the trail is at high altitude, and the trail itself is paved with rocks that are very uneven so it the footing can be difficult. There are parts where you go down steep stairs for hours. If my knees were younger it wouldn 't have been so bad. That said, I finished it, I am very proud of myself for doing it. I did see one woman on the trek that was in her 60's and she looked like she was doing fine. Most of the people will be in their 20's, but you can go at your own pace so if you think you can do it you should go for it. I took a knee brace and had to wear it the last day. My knees swelled up so bad I had to wear shorts because they wouldn't fit in pants. Take plenty of Alleve, trekking poles, knee braces, and good hiking boots with ankle support.

kcmo
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253 posts
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2. Re: Just how hard is the Classic Inca trail hike?

Foxisle-- I was just reading your report on your experience, so I'm glad you wrote and gave additional info. It sounds like the altitude and the breathing weren't the main problems, but rather the legs? Did you use Diamox or cocoa or other enhancements to avoid altitude sickness? We had also thought SAS looked good because of the number of trips they run and that we could get all from one tour operator. Any other thoughts? Did you post a trip report anywhere? Thanks so much! jb

Fox Island...
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3. Re: Just how hard is the Classic Inca trail hike?

jb- I was in Cusco for about 3 days before we went on the Trail so I was well-acclimated for the altitude. I took Diamox but it made my hands tingle really bad and I couldn't focus one eye so I quit taking it and was fine. I did drink a lot of coca tea!! Actually the altitude affected my 25 year old skinny daughter more than it did me! She took Excedrin Migraine which took care of the headaches. The altitude only became an issue on the first pass and you just had to walk verrry slowwwly. My knees suffered the worst of it. Definitely hire a porter to carry your stuff so you travel as light as possible. Bring a blow up air mattress to sleep on - you can use it on the trail and at the Lima airport if you have a long layover. It was very convenient just using one tour operator - we used them also for a trip to Manu, the Sacred Valley tour, and the Cusco city tour. By doing the Manu trip also they gave us one free night at their hostal in Cusco 'Los Marquesas'. I can't remember if I posted a trip report or not!

4. Re: Just how hard is the Classic Inca trail hike?

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