Here we are, 244 days from the start of our Inca Trail Hike, or 8 months and one day, and we have just received important news: our passes have officially been purchased in our names and registered. That means we now definitely have our passes to begin our hike on Monday August 28, 2017 and to enter the Machu Picchu site that Thursday.
Now all we have to do is be ready for it.
The past two months have been a little rocky in our progress to our goal. November has always been a tough month for me depression-wise, partly because I spent November of 2008 watching my first wife as her body slowly gave up the struggle against both cancer and all of the medications she was taking to fight it. This November, Rita and I like many people were thrown for a loop with the election of Donald Trump. I just could not quite get over that America has decided to go the bread-and-circuses route that destroyed Rome, sending to the White House a completely unqualified Ass Clown*. The ensuing depression and anxiety triggered a few evenings of rum-fueled denial for me, and that coupled with Thanksgiving dinner made my weight loss plans fall a bit behind. Fortunately, I’ve continued to lose, just not at the same rate.
Even worse, Rita began developing symptoms that sent us to Guayaquil for a few doctors visits and tests. She will be needing gall bladder surgery, which we would have taken care of by now, except that I spent two days after her diagnoses alternating between a fever and chills, and she came down with a bad cold that caused us to miss the window of opportunity before the holidays. Now we have it scheduled for the second week in January, so hopefully by the end of January we will be back on track, with 7 months to prepare.
It has not all been bad, of course. And honestly, we expected some snags and pitfalls on the journey to the Journey. That’s part of the reason we allowed ourselves so long to prepare. Overall, things still look very good. We have walked over 800 miles since we began, and we no longer have any concerns about whether we can walk the required distance. The rest is prepping for the stairs and the altitude.
Rita’s weight is perfect, and once her surgery is done she will have plenty of time to work on strength and stamina. Although I barely lost 6 pound in November, I should still drop 10 for December. Currently I’ve lost 45 pounds since mid-July, and 65 since we moved to Ecuador. Another 15 pounds or so, and I’ll no longer be obese – just fat! As a consequence of the weight loss, I have almost given up completely both Metformin for diabetes, and Lisinopril for high blood pressure. In the past ten days, my morning blood sugar has been below 100 seven times, and my blood pressure hovers at near-normal. I’m down to taking the BP meds every other day, and the Metformin only on the mornings I’m over 100. I fully expect to be off of both by the end of January.
So our plans continue on track. I will keep working on the weight until I have lost at least another 40-45 pounds. We will continue to walk, adding backpacks and hikes up and down El Morro here in Chipipe, and work on the 23 flights of stairs in our condo building. Starting in May we will do some hiking in Ayampe, Las Frailes, and the Baños area, and in June and July add high altitude hikes around Quito, Cotacachi and Cuenca.
We still feel very good about our goal, and if nothing else, we are getting healthy and enjoying travel and the great outdoors in beautiful Ecuador.
*I think the great debate of future historians, as they sift through the rubble left behind by the once-proud American society, will be whether President Trump should be classified as an “Ass Clown” or merely an “Asshat”. Probably a moot point, since those future historians will most likely speak Chinese or Russian anyway.