Life Lessons

Day Two of our Inca Trail hike started early, with a wake up call at our tent at 5am. Wake up comes with cups of hot coffee and some water for cleaning up, so that's not too bad. Also, much to our surprise, we had both slept very well in our nice, warm sleeping bags. Although we each were up once to visit the potty tent, we got at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and another hour or two...

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Our long awaited Inca Trail Hike began for us the night before the first day of hiking, at 6:30pm on Sunday, August 27, 2017, when we met our guide Fletcher for the pre-trek orientation. Maybe it was my imagination, but it looked like he flinched a bit when he saw us coming across the hotel lobby. I can hardly blame him if he did - at 59 and 66, we probably did not look like his average clients. But at...

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Yesterday (August 31, 2017) Rita and I successfully completed our quest that began just over a year ago, and walked into the famous Machu Picchu ruins after hiking 26 miles (45 kilometers) in four days on the Inca Trail. I'd like to say that it was easier than we thought it would be - but that would not be true. In fact, it was the most difficult physical activity either of us have ever attempted, and successfully completing the trek...

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It has been 378 days since Rita and I first got the crazy notion to hike the Inca Trail. Since then we have logged 1817 miles of walking/hiking; we've climbed and descended 88,237 stairs in our condo building; we've completed a dozen practice hikes at altitudes between 9,000 and 13,000 feet; we've improved our overall health; I've lost over 60 pounds; and we've had a hell of a time exploring new places, seeing beautiful sights, and just generally growing closer...

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August 14th, 2017 Today is important, not just because we are only two weeks away from taking our first step on the Inca Trail, but because it was one year ago today that we took the real first step by deciding to commit ourselves to this goal. Back on that fateful day last year, we were completing a second-in-a-row 5+ mile hike out to La Puntilla, a nearby nature preserve, when a chance encounter with a friend who was planning to...

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As of today (Saturday, July 22), we are now only 37 days away from setting out on the 26-mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Put another way, it has now been 339 days since we decided to completely change our lives around in order to get ready for a 4-day event. Of course there has been more to it than that; we really did need to get into better shape, me especially. But I'm not exaggerating when I say we...

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We have been spending time each day now preparing for our written Ecuador citizenship tests that we will have to take later this year. This involves working on our Spanish, in addition to trying to cram some information into our old, tired brains. As I struggle to try and memorize the names of Ecuadorian Presidents and their accomplishments, the provinces and their capitals, major geographic features, dates of holidays, and random cultural facts, I find myself thinking about both the...

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I've got some good personal news to report, and another important milestone in our quest to prepare to hike the Inca Trail - now just 53 days away. As I was able to announce to the attendees at International Living's Quito conference, "Hooray - I'm Fat!" Constant Readers among you may remember that back on October 11 of 2016, I was able to announce that I had cracked the 35 BMI barrier, and was then considered "obese" rather than "morbidly...

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At the risk of sounding like saps or even worse, fuddy-duddies, we have always tried to follow the correct paperwork procedures in each step of our lives overseas. When we applied for Visas, we collected all of the documents according to the Consular website and our Ecuadorian attorney's advice, and took no shortcuts or "money-saving" steps. Maybe it is just coincidence that our Visas were ready for pickup at the DC Consulate's office three weeks after filing, but I think...

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Here we are, just 76 days from setting off on the Inca Trail, and we have successfully completed our first major tests of hiking at altitude. The results were mostly positive, but also quite sobering. I think at the moment we both feel that we can probably do this, but it is going to be, pardon the pun, an uphill struggle. We began this new phase just four days ago on Friday. For me, the day did not start auspiciously....

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