Day 338: Cabanaconde, Peru
I was really excited about climbing down Colca Canyon. I was with people really great people who loved hiking and the outdoors and this was considered one of the best hiking spots. When they decided that instead of 3 hours we would do a 2 day hike in and around the villages I was excited to be part of this.
I wanted to prove that I could be a hiker.
The first section of the trail was all downhill. Not surprisingly, the guys raced ahead while the girls stayed back and chatted with a slower pace.
Jeremy, who is a mountain guide back in Canada, and the leader of the hike showed us cactus fruit and shared it with us along the way.
This was a good day.
Things were going well. I was writing my redemption post in my head. While I hadn’t climbed to Machu Picchu I was going to conquer Colca Canyon.
And after 3 hours I felt great. We arrived at the Oasis, a set of pools and when we learned that the pools weren’t filled I was ready to move on and take the next challenge.
The next challenge was hiking back up the other side of the Canyon. I could do this. I decided if I hiked this Canyon I would never need to go hiking again because I had proved I could do it.
And I did it.
Well I did it for an hour.
But it was noon hour and I was hot, water didn’t seem to be cooling me down and I was lagging farther and farther behind the group.
My thoughts began to change. Why am I doing this? I really have a day and a half more of this? When does it become fun.
And then it happened.
I sat down to catch my breath and realized I didn’t want to continue.
Why am I doing this?
Mirijam yelled down from above to cheer me on, to tell me I could do it. I took a few steps.
But then realized I really wasn’t having fun, at the end I wouldn’t remember conquering a great challenge but simply being miserable for a long time.
It wasn’t me. I’m not a hiker. I wasn’t enjoying this. I didn’t even know what to wear hiking, how could I do this trek? I was pushing myself because I thought I should.
I told them I was turning around.
My hike was over.
I felt a little sense of defeat walking back down. Did I give up too soon? I knew the answer as soon as I took out my camera.
Instead of walking back in shame I took my time strolling around taking photos. Admiring the cacti and landscape that I wasn’t able to do when I was convincing myself to walk uphill.
I ended up having a great time alone and left with a smile on my face. I realized that was my last attempt at serious hiking.
I don’t enjoy more than a half-day walk. I had used rain as an excuse for Machu Picchu but I was just going to admit it.
I’m not a hiker. I’ll never be one. I don’t want to be one.
And when I landed at the Oasis I did the only thing fit to do.
I jumped in the pool that was now ready and got a mule to take me back up the otherside of the Canyon.