Hiking the Inca Trail, Day 2: Nobody Messes with Dead Woman's Pass

Dead Woman's Pass

After a successful first day hiking the Inca Trail, Day 2 loomed ahead as menacing as the name of the high elevation pass we would hike up to for most of the day: Dead Woman’s Pass.

It had been years since I had slept on the ground in a tent, and I awoke from a night of tossing and dozing for 10 minutes at a time. We hiked up and up and up for hours, often climbing the roughly hewn rocks like a steep staircase. Getting to Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,800 ft. (4,215 m) proved to be a monumental struggle.

When I hiked to where I was above the elevation of Cuzco (11,200 ft./3,400 m), which I had successfully acclimated to, I was gasping for breath after every 20 steps or so. I soldiered on the best I could and heard from my guide that in about 10 minutes we would have our next break. I was more than ready for one.

Then a strange thing happened. Most of my group was ahead of me on the trail, and my guides hiked ahead as well. I knew there were two women from my group hiking a ways behind me on the trail.

I came to an area with a field where hikers from another group were taking a break, saw no one from my group, and hiked on. I kept up my methodical progress, and it seemed like much more than 10 minutes must have gone by, but I am a slower than average hiker, so I just keep hiking on.

I didn’t have a watch and don’t know how much time went by, but it became apparent that I must have missed the spot of the break. I had seen no one from my group on the trail now for quite a while and was getting anxious.

Read more at (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

More Like This

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.