As I mentioned previously, day 2 of a 4-day Inca Trail trek is a brute. As one online source put it, it’s like climbing stairs without any landing for 5 hours straight. At altitude.
At least you’ve got great scenery to distract you (a little). The trail starts out like this…
And turns into this…
Then eventually, when you’re pretty sure you’re near your breaking point, you get to “Dead Woman Pass” (so-named because a couple of hills near the pass look vaguely like a reclining woman, sort of).
Here’s the view looking back on the climb up — definitely the thing to give you a feeling of accomplishment (the day started at the bottom of the valley in the lower part of the photo):
Or, you can take in a 360 degree view of the whole vista from the pass.
Once you get over the pass, you’ve got the relief of finally getting to go downhill just as sharply. Here you can see the start of the next day’s trail winding back up to regain most of day 2’s afternoon descent.
To give credit where credit’s due, this post’s title came courtesy of a remark by one of my hiking compatriots.