Revisiting photos from the Inca Trail, Peru

In a perfect example of why you should never delete “bad” photographs, Lightroom CC’s new dehaze tool turned mediocre shots into ones worth sharing.

While some of the pics do look overexposed, I’m really impressed with how much the tool improves the photos from my “2-day” (which was really one 8-hour gruelling hike, and then a super early morning amble around Machu Picchu the next day) Inca Trail trek that I took on New Year’s Eve 2011. For the most part I was walking in clouds at high altitude, and I was shooting with the fantastic but not-so-much-in-difficult-situations Panasonic Lumix that I bought in New Zealand, me so the quality of the shots have never really wowed me.

I’ve also been playing around with Elegant Theme’s Divi, I love how flexible it is, and will allow me to create more interesting layouts on a per-post basis. I do wonder what will happen if I ever change the theme though, and envision content taking on a life of its own.

A bromeliad growing off the top of a wall at Machu Picchu
Somewhere along the Inca Trail
After ascending 50m from the floor of the river valley, we reached the Trail itself.
Sundog at Machu Picchu
Somewhere along the Inca Trail
Exhausted from altitude sickness, asthma, and a lack of general preparedness for the trek: somewhere along the Inca Trail
Somewhere along the Inca Trail, the Urubamba River below in the distance
Machu Picchu, New Year's Eve 2011

Walking to Machu Picchu, seems insane to me now. I remember at the time thinking that if I didn’t do the trek, I would regret it for the rest of my life.  I took the 2-day trip, where the first day is spent hiking and the second day exploring the ruins, but in hindsight I should have taken the multi-day trip. The pressure to reach the Sun Gate by 4pm was immense, and I was the slowest person in the group. I  wanted to quit, or be thrown off of the mountain, at least half a dozen times over the day as the pace was just too much for my soroche-ridden, asthmatic ass. Had I chosen the multi-day trek, the walking was limited to 4-5 hours per day, so if I was slow I wouldn’t have affected the other hikers very much. I could have stopped as I needed to, and enjoyed the amazing landscape I found myself in.

Still, I made it. I was the last tourist to enter Machu Picchu in 2011, and was rewarded with photographs of the park without another soul in them.

Ugh. Monday. Don’t wanna.

Flopped out in the Colca Canyon, Peru

Flopped out in the Colca Canyon, Peru

I don’t know what it is about today that has me so sluggish, but man, am I ever having a hard time getting going this morning. I was trying to think if I had any photos from my travels that suited my morning so far, and this one was the closest — which is a good thing, as it means days like this are few and far between!

This photo was taking in my notorious Colca Canyon trip in 2011, where I was rocked with altitude sickness. This was day two of feeling like I was going to pass out any second, and Christmas Morning no less. We’d been up since before the crack of dawn to drive out to the lookout to see the condors, a few hours’ drive (and several hundred meters lower, thank God) from our base in Chivay. By the time this photo was taken I’d not only soldiered through a rough morning, a 3 hour drive, but also a 1km hike that felt like a marathon thanks to the oxygen depletion going on in my system. I made it though, and I was crazy proud of myself for having done so. If I can do that, then I can get through today, right?

Quechua girl and her huarizo

Quechua girl and her huarizo

Quechua girl and her huarizo

Christmas Day 2011 saw me deep within Peru’s Colca Canyon. Along the way from the town of Chivay (where we had spent Christmas Eve) to the Mirador Cruz del Condor (where we would later see the wild birds in flight!) were a number of small markets on the side of the road. This young girl and her huarizo, an alpaca/llama mix, were posing for photographs in exchange for sols.



Christmas Eve, Chivay Peru

Two years ago today I boarded a minibus in the city of Arequipa, Peru, and had my life change forever. Not only was I about to encounter some of the most amazing scenery I had ever seen, but I would be putting my health into the hands of complete strangers — all on Christmas Eve, in the middle of nowhere, thousands of kilometers from home.

Read more about my amazing trip to Peru, and Christmas 2011 in the Colca Canyon here.

Cusco street dancers, take two!

The day after encountering the Conquistador-like Peruvian Morris Dancers (or so they seemed to me!), while at breakfast ANOTHER parade of dancers came ambling by the patio we were eating at.

Like this post? You can read more about my solo trip to Peru here =)