Margaret Davis, Peru

A Special Birthday Celebration

As I talked about wanting to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to commemorate my 60th birthday, several friends said they would love to join me. An e-mail list was started of those expressing interest and I kept the group informed as I made plans with Wildland. I knew that 4 or 5 people were serious but wasnt sure how many would actually commit when the time came. When deposits came due, 12 people signed up. I knew all but one (a cousin of one of the travelers) but they did not all know each other. This would truly be an adventure.

We all met in Lima flying in from various parts of the USA. After introductions at breakfast the next morning we flew off to Cuzco to begin our acclimatization for the trek. By the time we had spent 2 days together we had bonded as a group and you couldnt tell who had known whom previously.

Our guide for 7 days, Wilfredo, was a fabulous addition and quickly became part of our group. He was knowledgeable about so many areas; history, architecture, culture, flora and fauna and was also an accomplished musician. He led us through our explorations of Cuzco and the surrounding area, the Urubamba Valley, onto the Inca Trail and ending with Machu Picchu.

The trek was the hardest hike most of us had ever done. The 12 of us had varying abilities and some were faster while others labored to breathe up the inclines, but everyone found it challenging. We all supported each other and everyone made it the whole way. What a sense of accomplishment! Arriving at Inti Punku and gazing at Machu Picchu for the first time was awe-inspiring. When we walked down into Machu Picchu, the group began to sing Happy Birthday and I started singing along with them wondering whose birthday it was. Then it dawned on me that they were singing to me!

Exploring Machu Picchu, visiting Aguas Calientes and then spending 3 days at Posadas Amazonas in the rainforest were all special. Then it was back to Lima and time to say good-bye to our little group. Everyone loved the trip, got along with each other and wants to do another adventure together in the future. I cant wait!