One lesser-known bit of trivia about the Inca Trail — some current-day communities on it still rely on the trail for transportation of cargo. How to do this while keeping the trail in its largely-historical state? Why, by burro, naturally:
For what it’s worth, the “day 1” leg of the trail (Piscacucho to Wayllabamba) is the only one on which hoofed animals are allowed. On our day 1, we saw a number of burro trains headed uphill with cargo; we saw one coming back, it wasn’t carrying anything down.
The gents with the bright green duffel bags are porters — carrying most of the gear for folks on the trek. So, they’re carrying the cooking gear, the food, our sleeping bags, and our accommodations:
The green tent was my home at night on the trail; the tent on the right was our group’s bathroom (a.k.a. “The Magic Tent”). The porters passed us on the trail each day and had our tents set up and a bowl of hot water outside (for a quick cleanup after a dusty day) waiting for us when we made it into camp. Amazing men, those porters — we just couldn’t tip them enough at the end of the trail!