08.12.01 - 1:19 p.m.
we're back from 4 days hiking the inca trail, stupendous, the andes are vast. i am just going to blather because i don't feel up to the task of conveying the beauty of this hike. 500 years ago the incas built a trail from cuzco (the capital (literally "navel") of the incan empire) to machu picchu (a sacred city deep in the mountains). the trail is 48 kilometers at high altitude (topping out at 4200km-- your breath goes away in no time). it is carved into the mountains, it soars up 1000 meters (a LOT of fucking stairs) to dead woman's pass, it descends through the cloudforest (literally-- day 3 we were walking through clouds) and finally lets out onto a plateau from which you can watch the sun rise over machu picchu. it's not an easy hike, but if you do it you'll have images etched into your brain that will last till you die. rainbows, strange butterflies, mysterious abandoned cities, waterfalls, mountains stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.
so many times i started to take a picture and then stopped because i realized it was impossible-- the scene was too vast to capture in a picture. you have to imagine the feeling you get of feeling like a little insect, of looking back over the trail you spent 4 hours climbing and seeing tiny specks (other people) climbing the same trail in the distance. before the hike we thought the guidebook's purple prose was ridiculous. afterwards we realized that it was pretty accurate. the heights *are* dizzying, the cities *are* mystical.
but anyway there were some funny aspects to the hike. we had to go with a bunch of other people and a guide, because the peruvian government passed a law forbidding solo hiking. this turned out to be a tad annoying, because there were some people we could have done without. mainly hamish and danish. hamish (his real name) was some posh british dude. danish (not his real name, but he was from denmark and we could never remember his real name) was hamish's friend. their entire approach to the hike was to run through it as fast as they could and then take a smoke break at the top. hamish smoked SO much, it was repulsive. it was like watching an anti-smoking advertisement. he and danish delighted in "taking the piss" out of everybody else, although their level of wit rarely rose above screaming in the middle of the night to scare people. they would chatter and yammer and booze it up until late in the night, while the rest of us were trying to sleep. many was the night i drifted off into slumber dreaming of dismembering them with an ice pick and leaving them for the vultures.
anyway i'm kind of bored writing about the people on the hike (given that they were mostly boring) so enough of that. yeah cheers. julie and i have been playing darts, i like darts.
i have been thinking of stopping this journal, or moving to livejournal or i don't know. i feel like this has drifted far from where it started and while in some ways that's good, a certain measure of candor has inevitably been lost. i don't mean talking about Feelings and Yearnings and all that (i've kept journals of that sort in the past and i can't even bear to read them now, they're so boring) but i feel like my writing has changed. has it? i read entries like this and feel that something is different. audience, boredom, lack of ideas, i dont know. i was impressed with the way m. finished things off. with style, with grace. the first sign of danger is when one starts whinging about one's diary, as i am doing right now.
maybe i will stop once i get back to the U.S... that might be a good point.
anywayz julie is chafing at the bit so i gots to go, i have been thinking about the future and the path and my general dearth of imagination re: seismic movements, the creation of mountains and the fall of empires. as always, more later and i hope you are well & of course, welcome to wherever you are
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