Not Cut Out for Colca Canyon

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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.

colca canyon cactus fruit

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.

colca canyon hikers

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.

girl with camera

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.

colca canyon cactus

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 other side of the Canyon.

Join the Conversation

  1. Camels & Chocolate says:

    I had this exact feeling while whale-watching on Saturday! WITHOUT FAIL, I get deathly seasick, even though I take Dramamine/Bonine the required hour before departure, chew on ginger, watch the horizon, all that crap. And, of course, like clockwork, half an hour into our trip on Saturday (the day after the tsunami hit us, mind you), I was vomiting off the back of the boat wondering why I always say I’ll do such outings when I know I’m going to be miserable!

    So lesson learned for both of us, eh? From now on, we put our feet down and say no, no, we won’t go!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I learned sailing from Panama to Colombia that I’m not a sailor either – I’m really starting to look like a pansy now.

      Seasickness is the worst! Even if you get sick you still feel terrible.

  2. At least you gave it a shot! I felt the same during parts of the Machu Picchu hike. But on a 4-day hike, there’s really no turning back. Meh! Some people are hikers and some are not. And some, like me, can only be hikers under the best of conditions: good weather, slow pace, no pressure!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I felt so fortunate that I had the option to turn around, and know that there was a mule that would take me back up the other side!

      1. Matt | ExpertVagabond says:

        Where’s the walk-of-shame photo with the mule!

  3. jamie - cloud people adventures says:

    man, that is a tough hike. i have to say though, i definitely found the extra effort going up the other side was worth it once you got to the little villages. we stayed there a couple of nights and loved it. a pretty amazing way of life. but, you got to do what you got to do!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was definitely a tough decision, I heard the villages are really amazing.

  4. I think sometimes people feel the pressure to do and see it all when they travel. It’s good to push your limits and get out your comfort zone, try something new, etc. But it’s also good to know your limits and know when to quit or stop. This is a good reminder that you won’t like everything you try….even when you travel.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think between Machu Picchu and Colca Canyon I’ve realized that I’ll never get excited over trekking so I should just spend my energy doing things I do get excited over.

  5. Well done for giving it a go, better to realise when you did than after the point of no return!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Tried it. Hated it. Won’t do it again 🙂

  6. The way up from the bottom of the canyon is very hard indeed.

    Generally speaking trekking and hiking can be hard at times and on every single trek I did I had moments when I had enough and wanted to quit. But since usually I had no other option but walk I did finish those treks. And when I think about them now I think they were very worth all the effort. The views you get to see in places like Colca Canyon, in the Himalayas, in the Andes etc are breathtaking. So I think trekking is good despite the fact that it makes me really tired and sometimes angry. I love trekking even if sometimes is really hate it if you know what I mean 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really contemplated if I should push through or not.

      I’m an avid gym go-er and I love the adrenaline rush after a great class where I know I pushed myself to the limit and I even enjoy the difficulty while I’m doing it. But when I compared it to that I realized that I wasn’t enjoying any of it and I’m done doing things I don’t enjoy.

      But am jealous of you, I really wish I was a trekking kind of person.

      1. Here is a thing – I am not really trekking kind of person. Trekking makes me very tired and requires huge effort from me. But I decided to make trekking my personal challange. I still find it difficult and unpleasant when I am in the process of trekking, but at the end of every day I feel like I achieved more that I though I’d be able to achieve. It’s not only a physical challenge but predominantly mental one. When I trek I feel like turning back all the time. So each day is a huge achievement. I think that this challenge made me a bit stronger (mentaly) and it is now easier for me to stick to my goals.

        I know that you don’t find pleasure in trekking, but here is a thought – maybe try to complete one (in a spectacular location – I recommend Cordilliera Blanca in Peru or Torres del Paine in Chile) and see how it feels at the end. Will you be just tired and angry or will you feel like what you just did was awesome despite negative feelings?

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Really interesting perspective Magda.

          I did hike Wayna picchu. It was an hour up, very steep but I think it was just the right amount of effort and time. If it had been longer it would have been unpleasant.

          Also a few years back I hiked Tongariro in New Zealand and toward the top it started to rain and hail. I’m pretty sure I was crying but I couldn’t really tell because there was so much rain on my face.

          1. Ben schaler says:

            I’m sorry but you sound like an incredible baby; you gave up! Trekking definitely sucks when you’re in the middle of hiking up a canyon or mountain carrying a load, but like the previous commenter said, once you reach your destination for the night there is nothing but a sense of accomplishment. Believe me the hike is often strenuous and not always “fun” in the moment, but when you feel exhausted and fall into a beautiful restful sleep at the end of the day it is worth it. Consider it a journey; there are going to be ups and downs, but you shouldn’t discount something just because one part of it isn’t “fun”. In doing that you lose out on the whole rest of the experience on the other side. If you’re a quitter then I guess do as you will, but completing a trek is worthy life experience as a worldly human. I hope you have a redeeming experience. My advice is if you start to feel that way, just suck it up, you will make it.

          2. Ayngelina Author says:

            Ben I completely appreciate your opinion but I have to disagree. If you don’t enjoy doing something then why do it? Just because it’s something you’re *supposed* to do?
            I wrote this a few years back and stand by it. I have zero regrets for not hiking up the other side.

  7. Great post! I’m learning that we’re all different travelers with different likes, goals, etc. I’m done putting pressure on myself to live up to other people’s travel ideas!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really wanted to be that person. But I’m not and I’m going to stop trying.

  8. Sometimes you travel places when you are alone and enjoy more as you are doing things that you like… and isn’t that the main purpose of why we travel, to be happy?
    Glad that the entire journey left you with a smiling face at the end 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s nice that somehow everything always works out and I got great company on the way down and a great, albeit petrifying, mule ride on the way back up.

  9. Well done, by which I mean being yourself, turning around and doing what you really like. It’s necessary to give things a try because otherwise you don’t know if you are cut out for them or not,but it’s mature to cut your losses, so to speak. I’m glad you are a non hiker too, I avoid it like the plague.I mean, how do you climb a mountain in heels???

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Inka the thought of you hiking in heels in hilarious.

  10. Barbara Weibel says:

    Bravo! For being honest. And for being able to admit to yourself that you really don’t like it. I sometimes ask myself why I am doing things, so I can really relate.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The more I travel the more I realize there are things I just don’t want to do. I still try all the new things but if I hate it more than a couple times why bother!

  11. Yeah, pays to get away from the rest of them and just go off and photograph nature. Nothing is so wrong as pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do just to keep up with the crowd.
    How did you find the cactus fruit? Good?
    We ate a lot of them in Ethiopia. Quite yummy.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I loved the cactus fruit, we had some that were under ripe and then very ripe and they were all delicious.

  12. My opinion – to hike alone is better. I love trekking, but do it slowly as up as down, takin’ pictures all the time, take the rest for smoking every 40 min or just sit on the stone and listen to the silence but not the breath and ooh and aaah of fellows and so on… Everybody have own physical rhythm… I climbed Merapi volcano in Jawa, Indonesia. it was night 5 hours hike to meet the sunrise. The company included ppl from Switzelrand and France – they are Alps inhabitants and hike very fast, but for office plankton which I am it wasn’t easy. They were waiting for me all the time, asked – r u ok? I feel very sorry and uncomfortable that they wait for me. But to climb alone – absolutely great! U can sing loud during the hike, and great feeling when only u and mountains around

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      One of my biggest anxieties was that I was slowing the group down. Fortunately they went ahead but kept checking on me every so often.

  13. I did not opt to do this for the same reason. I love walking, I love nature, I love small hikes, but when the lady explained it to me… and said “Oh… it’s not too hard.” I knew I could not. I have a number of health issues and for her to still say “You can do it. Just walk slow.” meant I was staying home while the bf did this. He said it himself: “You would have died out there.”

    But, I think it’s great you tried it and admit it wasn’t for you!

    LOVE Cactus fruit though!

    One of his pictures is hilarious; on the trail, he saw a delivery of a brand new massive fridge. Two Peruvians carrying a big ass fridge on a mountain.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah the hike down was okay but I understand now why they offer the mule service back up, it is incredibly steep and would be miserable to do.

  14. Hiking is one of those things you have to do with like-minded people. I’m a slow hiker too and I enjoy hiking more with people who adopt that speed as well.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      A definite tip is not to go hiking with mountain climbers if you think you may not like hiking!

  15. Jilianne @ Cotswold Cottages says:

    I was hoping to read a fresh post from you today and I’m glad you did wrote something 🙂

    Btw, didn’t it occur to you that you might have enjoyed when you reach the end of the trail?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I knew what I was sacrificing, I really wanted to reach the villages at the top. But it would have been two days of feeling like this to get to them.

      On the bright side I did meet an employee at the pool at the bottom and we had a long talk about the area, the villages, the tourists who come through. It turned out to be a really nice day.

  16. Some people are hikers and some aren’t, not sure if I am, but I’m probably not. I’m glad you got to take some pictures and enjoy the scenery and the pool on the way back.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hike a canyon and you’ll find out!

  17. islandmomma says:

    I quite like hiking, but strange as it may sound to some people, I’m not sure hiking and photography mix well. I know you only get those special shots, no-one else gets by being somewhere remote and only accessible on foot, but if taking good photos is important to you, and the entire group isn’t like-minded, then it’s hard, because you feel as if either you’re holding them up whilst you snap away, or frustrated because they pace they set doesn’t allow you enough time to take photos. I haven’t been on a real hike for over a year now & that’s my reason/excuse.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I absolutely agree with you. On the initial way down the canyon any time I would take a photo I’d get really far behind the group and had to run ahead. Unless you’re with other people who want to do the same it’s really tough.

  18. Caz Makepeace says:

    I’m definitely a hiker, I absolutely love the challenge and being out in nature.

    But,if I hated it then nothing would be worse then forcing yourself to do it just to say you did it.

    You’ve got to do what you find enjoyable in life. You made the right choice to go back and do what you like instead.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think I pushed myself because I felt lazy but I play a bunch of sports and love a good step class. I’d love to be one of those nature people, but I guess I’m just a city girl.

      1. Lauren, Ephemerratic says:

        Ha, one of my many nicknames is City Girl. Yet, I did okay in Colca Canyon and I’m an out-of-shape desk monkey!

  19. I loved this post! I feel the same way about running.
    I hope you enjoyed the mule ride! (Which hopefully allowed you to take more leisurely pictures while going up the mountain?)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The mule ride was petrifying! I didn’t realize that instinctively they like to walk on the edge so half the time I was looking down the cliffs wondering if I would die or just break all my limbs.

  20. An important lesson I learned, is being honest with yourself, and that’s what you did.
    It’s the only way to live the life you like.

    (and now I’m going to read your newsletter YEAH!!!)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Eugenie, hope you like the newsletter!

  21. Christine says:

    Isn’t that the whole point of travelng? Pushing our comfort zone? That’s exactly what you did, and the good thing is you tried! Besides, wandering at a slower pace and taking pictures sounds much more ideal to me 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Nice way to think about it. I pushed it, rejected it, and then went and drank an Orange Fanta!

  22. But you got some great pictures along the way, that’s all that matters in my book. : )

    Love the foggy hikers photo.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was so hard to choose the photos, actually the first hour was all in fog, that part of the hike was really nice.

  23. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    It’s hard sometimes when there’s something you THINK you should do. You don’t have to hike for 3 days to be a true backpacker, you have nothing to prove to no one. You have to enjoy yourself, and if that isn’t happening then screw it! Like you said, your not a hiker. Now you know and can plan the things you like to do around this fact. Good for you for trying though.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      For sure, if it’s not a flat walk a senior could do, with a big beer waiting for me at the end, I’m not doing it.

  24. South America ME says:

    Remember, always do the things you enjoy instead of following the crowd and you will go far.
    Rob W.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yep, maybe it’s my age, but I’m tired of doing things, like hiking, when I’d rather be doing something else, like drinking wine!

  25. It’s definitely a challenging hike, and you tried. You were honest with yourself and didn’t push it too far where some people might. This is where they can get themselves into trouble. You got some beautiful pictures and enjoyed the time on your own. I actually prefer hiking alone or just with Dalene because we go at our own pace and don’t feel any rush to keep up (generally we are slow because we take so many photos). I think you get way more out of it and see things sometimes not everybody does.

    Wasn’t it odd though how out of place those pools looked in the Canyon? As nice as they were on the hot day, we thought it just didn’t fit..

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah the pools at the bottom were just plain weird, here you are in this idyllic setting in nature and people put a bunch of in ground pools next to a river. The only nice thing about it was that I had to wait a few hours for the mule and because it was off season no one was there but me and one of the workers came over to chat and we traded funny travelers stories.

  26. Good for you. I am so not a hiker and have been trying to convince myself I was since age 18 (25 years ago). Once I realized I don’t have to hike to enjoy traveling I was able to let everyone else go ahead and enjoy walking at my own pace for as long as I wanted to. If I ever go to Machu Picchu it will be by train if it’s raining or not.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t know how I made it 33 years without realizing I really don’t like hiking. In Eastern Canada we don’t have mountains really so the longest I had ever hiked was 3 hours and it didn’t seem so bad.

  27. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    Maybe you did give up too soon but if you hadnt would you have been able to take the photos. So you have decided you arent a hiker its okay keep traveling and taking photos.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Travel. Photos. Leisurely strolls. That is the Bacon is Magic way!

  28. Good for you! I’m not a huge fan of hiking either. The worst hike I ever did was in the Provinica of Juyjuy in Argentina, and we hiked 2 hours down into to where some hot springs were, only to find out that the trail down to the hot springs was practically impossible and way too steep and scary for me (it involved haning onto roots on almost a sheer cliff). So no hot springs, then 3 hours back uphill in the hot sun with almost no water and everyone else passing us on horses (they were smart). Never again! Flat hikes only for me. Haha.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh yeah I like being in nature, but flat nature, maybe with a few small hills but flat enough I can look around instead of staring at my feet wondering when it will all be over.

  29. jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World says:

    I’m sorta jealous that you have the luxury of turning back. Jack always pushes me for not quitting on a hike/climb/whatever… I always feel great when I did make it to the end.

    But I swear sometimes I just want to strangle him and turn back by myself 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really contemplated pushing through it for that feeling of final triumph – but then I realized I had 12 more hours of hiking and I’d rather the triumph of walking downhill 🙂

  30. I remember going to the Valley for the France reunion and Grenville took his class on a hiking trip. My friend Hyla and I tagged along…were you on this hiking adventure? It was an all day hiking field trip. I just remember my feet hurting and wondering what possessed Hyla and I to tag along!!! I’m in agreement with the no-likey hiking!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes I remember that! It was the first time I went hiking and I wore indoor soccer shoes and jeans that I planned to wear that night! Worst of all I believed Gren’s joke that there was an ice cream shop at the top of Cape Split!

  31. Wandering Trader's Travels says:

    Hey, at least the day ended well with you jumping into the pool and with the mule helping you out! You can’t force yourself to be something you’re not – especially if you’re not enjoying it 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes and no one will have to read another post about me contemplating hiking – yay!

  32. I really enjoyed this and your post on Machu Picchu because even though I think I would be okay for hiking in these instances, I am often the victim (to myself) of doing things I don’t want to do just because I think I should.

    I read a lot of travel stories and hear a lot of other peoples experiences and I’m always thinking ‘I want that’ or ‘that’s the perfect experience’ and I am disappointed if I can’t find that or on the other end of the spectrum think I should do it because someone else did. I should be a super duper budget traveler because that’s all the rage (and I’m broke) but guess what? I like food. And in some places I like party hostels and convenience of staying smack in the center of town.

    These are general relations but it sounds like as you travel you are learning more and more about who you are and accepting that, no matter what it means. That’s a really important quality and it is one that I strive to find as I travel and grow too!

    I’m glad you enjoyed yourself in the end and got to swim in the pools. That would probably have been my reason for doing the hike anyway!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I’m surprised it took me 11 months to figure out a lot of these things but I am so stubborn I really wanted to be a big hiker. But why? So I could tell people I had hiked through the Andes? I’m still seeing them, just not hiking through them 🙂

  33. Christy - Ordinary Traveler says:

    Good for you for not pushing yourself too hard. I love hiking, but like Kelly said, on my own terms. I usually hike with a group of guys who want to get all crazy and go at a fast pace. I like to stop and enjoy the scenery. Your second part of the trip sounds like the perfect hike to me. 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Christy. I really did enjoy the hike down the canyon which was actually tough because the steps are so steep. But after 2 hours I think the shine wears off for me.

  34. Hahaha, best story about “giving up” ever! If you’re miserable, why would you keep pushing yourself?! I love this ending.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yay I’m a quitter 🙂 Although I really did pay for it with the mule, they go right to the edge of the cliffs!

  35. You are so true to yourself Ayngelina. We love you for it. Chichi and I went bike riding in the Vietnamese highlands today. We started out really excited but we gave up after four hours. We didnt even make it to the waterfalls. I guess you just can’t do everything. But it’s important to feel good and still have fun.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Four hours on a bike? I would have given up too!

  36. Good on you for giving it a go – I stayed up on the road at the top, and that’s about my limit. 🙂 Tempting as it was to go down – it must be a great walk down – but with the altitude and uphill, no thanks! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The downhill climb was actually tough, it’s really steep and there are tons of loose rocks. The top is just as nice.

  37. kara rane says:

    great for you 2 b U! and keep putting that camera to use, i enjoy your photos!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Aww thanks Kara!

  38. One of the things I wanted to do in South America was a multi-day hike. I really enjoyed our 5 day trek in Nepal, but we only walked 4-5 hours a day, got to stay in basic guesthouses at night and had a porter to carry our backpack!

    In South America we kept finding excuses not to do the long treks but honestly they just sounded like too hard work!

    I’m not ready to give up on the idea of doing long hikes but I can imagine the relief of just deciding you aren’t going to do it anymore. It sounds like you made the right decison for you. It’s not easy in the backpacker world when there are so many things that you just ‘have’ to do, so well done!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I guess it defines what a hike is. I’m no longer in for altitude and hills. But if it’s flat and nice weather I could definitely do a multiday hike – or do you call that walk?

      Regardless I don’t think I’ll find one in South America.

  39. That’s OK! I always have a really positive feeling inside when I’m out in nature and that’s why I’m always dragging John on hikes. He likes it ok but I’m the one who really loves to go tramping. It’s not for everyone. Just do what you love in life and leave the rest. That’s my motto.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If I were with a loved one that really was into it maybe I could be pushed. But on my own forget about it 🙂

  40. People were and continue to be scandalized that I was close enough to the most dangerous road in the world (Bolivia) without riding a bike down it. I heeded my own misgivings about it and have never regretted it. Even if everything had gone perfectly, it still would have been unfun for me. And I support your decision and agree with everyone that traveling is supposed to be fun. Not a hyped-up list of “vanquished” must-dos, anyone who insists you “have” to do something must be eyed with great suspicion.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have wondered about the road of death. I’m scared of going downhill fast on bikes so still not sure if I’ll do that one.

  41. I know how much you hate not finishing something that you have started….it is in your stubborn nature not to let anything get the best of you! As a kid it was always the trying that was important -remember water skiing? But it is good to see that you can “reevaluate” the situation and accept and embrace that sometime you just suck at things! So hang up those hiking boots and have a beer!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      My mother encourages me to stay in and have a beer. How sweet is that?

  42. Michael Hodson says:

    The hike down killed me (I went from the side you were hiking up towards, when you stopped) and I didn’t even bother with the hike up. Rode the mule back up the hill. 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yep the mule is definitely the way to go!

  43. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    This is exactly why I won’t go skiing. I HATE the cold with a passion.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate the cold as well. People seem to think that Canadians like the cold, but I’m one that definitely does not!

  44. Good for you. To me, it’s the equivalent of putting aside a book I’m not enjoying and moving on to another I do. Life’s too short!
    P.S. Glad you finished the solo portion of the trip with both arms intact!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I always have a hard time putting a bad book aside, I’m far too stubborn.

  45. As a committed hiker and someone who loves a physical challenge I have a hard time relating to you with regards to hiking. But for knowing your mind at your age and being okay with your decisions I applaud you.Too many people don’t really know themselves and cave to peer pressure. Apparently you’re not what one of them.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Then you’d just have to be the site 🙂

  46. Good for you for realizing you just didn’t want to do it and turning back. I fell in love with hiking, despite the difficulties, when I did the Inca Trail. Although my experience hiking Colca was quite difficult as well (check out the guest post I did for SpunkyGirl Monologues about it), I enjoyed the challenge. But I basically reached the point where I said to heck with the guide and friend I was with (who were walking WAY too fast for me) and slowed down, took my time, stopped to take pictures, and ended up enjoying it a lot more.

    And actually, if I had known there was a mule option available for the way up, I may have opted for that! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t know, when I first got on the mule I really wondered if I should have just climbed back up, it was really scary.

      1. That doesn’t surprise me! I rode a donkey once in Egypt and I was terrified the entire time.

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Yeah I don’t know how I feel about large animals either, they are scary!

  47. I’m a hiker, and I love it! But on the other hand I’m not a foodie. 😛

    It’s not a defeat not doing the hike entirely. Not everything is for everyone. But at least you found a great way to return by taking your time to enjoy the scenery and taking pictures… something you missed while forcing yourself to hike up. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I have to say the scenery was really cool, I’ve never seen masses of cacti before. I’m glad I did the 2 hours down it was nice.

  48. I actually really like hiking, although I have my limits! I’d prefer to wander with a camera though.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I like that, I’m not a hiker but a wanderer.

  49. I love hiking but I think the key to enjoying travel is to spend it doing things you like, not things you “should” do.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know didn’t I say this would be the year I got rid of the “shoulds” and here I am doing the canyon because I think I should.

      Lesson learned!

  50. Awesome. I’m the same way, a leisurely hike to see some pretty wilderness is great. Beyond that I’m miserable. You can still enjoy traveling without having to do things like this just because other people think it’s great. I’m glad you didn’t push yourself into something you knew you wouldn’t enjoy.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I like clean air, birds, cacti. I just don’t like walking up hill for hours!

  51. Christine says:

    What a great lesson about life in general. Try it and if it’s not for you,then move on to the next thing to try. I think we spend too much time trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Thanks for posting this, you gave me much to think about. 🙂

  52. This is why it’s good to hike with small kids. They stop and examine every little thing along the way, you don’t get very far, and you’ve got a great excuse for not keeping up with everyone. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Can I rent kids? Because I really only like them for a day, and usually not in the mornings when I’m tired 🙂

  53. That’s fine that you’re not a hiker, but at least you gave it a try! Not many people would have even done that!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Connie, you’re right I tried it and now I’m done!

  54. You tried and you didn’t failed because you learned what you really want=)

  55. It is good to know things like this about yourself. Me? I hate to swim. Don’t like to be in the water, especially if it is at all cold.

    There’s no point in doing something just because you think you should – the whole point of independent travel is just that: Independence.

    And I agree with Connie – it’s not like you didn’t try. You did and now you know. I don’t force my children to eat beets for the same reason even though I happen to think they are nuts.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love beets too. My favourite is to shred them and toss with shredded green apple and feta cheese topped with a vinaigrette. Your kids are missing out!

  56. Gareth Leonard says:

    Look on the bright side… maybe you have a future in mule riding!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The mule was scary, I need a new future!

  57. I think you discovered the secret of hiking – go at your own speed. Some hike for exercise, some for accomplishment. I hike to enjoy nature and photograph the surroundings, and love hiking except when it is controlled by someone else’s stopwatch.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think the secret of hiking is no hills 🙂

  58. Good for you, Ayngelina! I DO love hiking but am so glad you tried it and now know your limits and interests and don’t have anything to prove. 🙂 That’s fantastic! So glad you had such a great time moseying by yourself. 🙂

  59. The NVR Guys says:

    There are just things that don’t require a lot of soul searching. deciding not to do big hike is one of those things. Having said that, Kent and I are the absolute Kings of over examination, so I am not one to talk.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well if you’re the Kings I’m definitely the Queen!

  60. Stephanie says:

    It’s funny because I often feel the exact same way about hiking, but in the end we choose different paths.

    My biggest complaint on the multi-day guided hikes I’ve done is that I don’t have time to take as many photos as I would like. But I really do enjoy the physical challenge of it, so I always push myself to do the hikes.

    So how do I resolve this dilemma? If I think the guide is moving too fast, I don’t worry about it. I stop and take the photos I want and enjoy the hike.

    P.S. I love your honesty 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Stephanie,

      Perhaps I need to join a senior citizens group so I can still go but we’re so slow that I still enjoy it!

  61. Beth and I both like to hike, but we enjoy poking around on day hikes more, because, like you, we enjoy taking pictures along the way.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Taking photos is much more fun. I have no regrets on turning around at all.

  62. Hiking is not for everybody. I used to do it during my early twenties but now I just want to be lazy. I’m more curious to know how the cactus fruit tasted like??

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow hard to explain cactus fruit, maybe like a kiwi but not as sweet?

  63. Oh, hun. It doesn’t matter that you’re not a hiker. 🙂 At least you can spend that day and a half doing things you wouldn’t be doing if you were trudging up that mountain. I like hiking but only to a certain extent. If I get to the point where it’s just too much hard work and all the fun is gone, it’s time to call it quits.

    By the way, just want to interject here that I absolutely loved your newsletter. So inspiring. And I can’t wait for the next one!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I may give hiking another shot, but only if it´s 2 hours or less so if I hate it I know the end is near.

  64. hmm, I really enjoy hiking and I’ve been on hikes with people who just don’t like it. I am guilty of sometimes dragging these people along completely not understanding how trekking outdoors and enjoying beautiful scenery can not be enjoyed. I love knowing there is a destination.

    But then, half way through I realize it was a mistake because they are not enjoying themselves. This makes me not enjoy myself because I feel like I dragged someone into a miserable time.

    From now on I will trust people when they say they don’t like it haha. One thing though, it definitely helps if you hike with people that enjoy the same pace. I don’t just mean from a physical demand standpoint but some people like to really observe, touch and photograph as they go. On the other hand some are in a invisible race. I’m the first type and enjoy it more when I can take in my surroundings at a slow pace.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh yeah I was definitely with outdoor athletes. Really nice people but I should have known better.

  65. Congratulations. There is something commendable to be said about coming to a realization like this on your own.

    It’s one thing to challenge yourself, but it’s another to just put yourself in a miserable situation just because you feel you should do it.

    The more you learn and know about yourself, the more you will enjoy your future travels.

  66. KatieAnna says:

    I would totally rather walk about and take pictures with you, that sounds like a wonderful time.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Katie, it turned into a pretty great day.

  67. Multi-day hikes are often easier than one day hikes, to be honest, where the pace is often brutal.

    I have never enjoyed one day hikes, but I do like multi-day hikes where you get to camp in the wild. You also get that sense of arrival which is so important, rather than simply returning to base.

    I would seriously consider trying a 2 or 3 day hike (rated “easy”) rather than giving up on it altogether.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Okay if I see an easy multi-day, I’ll give it one more shot. But if I don’t like it, it’s all your fault 🙂

  68. Travelogged says:

    I enjoy a day hike, but don’t ask me to camp out!

  69. Trans-Americas Journey says:

    Just one of the many things we learn about ourselves when we travel–trekker or not a trekker.

    Now we’re off to hike to El Mirador archaeological site in Northern Guatemala for 6 days!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      6 whole days?? good luck!

  70. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) says:

    Colca Canyon is grueling– and not for everyone! Jake and I did the down-and-up hike in a single day, without a guide and bringing only a pack of Oreos and a liter of water. We stopped for a half hour at the bottom, didn’t eat and started to ascend again. It was pretty ill-advised! Jake got altitude sickness on the way back up and we kept having to stop; he spent the next day in bed and thought he was dying. We made it though! We’ll never forget that hike 🙂

  71. Love it! I’m so much more casual these days. Once upon a time it was all about proving to myself and anyone who cared (did anyone, ever, though? really?) that I Could Do It. Now it’s about me having fun. And, like you, I really enjoy the slow pace that allows photography of both the big and little things along the way.

    This trip has been quite a revelation for you, eh? 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Maybe if I were on a short holiday I’d want to do it. But I doubt it, from now I’m joining the senior’s stolls so I have time to just hang out rather than power up a hill.

  72. Pingback: Travel Tips: Peru | Lengthy Travel
  73. Katrina Mauro says:

    lol. This post is so cute! I did the Inca Trail, but not the hike in the Canyon due to time constraints. I did a two day bus tour instead, which I wasn’t all that enthralled about, to be honest I think I would’ve preferred hiking. I’m not an avid hiker, but I would do the Inca Trail again.

  74. Ian [EagerExistence] says:

    I’m the same when it comes to watching grand finals in sports. Live or on TV… I really just can’t get into it. I know its not travel-related, but I have a hard time faking my man-interest.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am the same way about babies, they just don’t do it for me and I’d rather not be around them.

  75. I love this. I love love love this. You just didn’t want to. So you didn’t. And you found something that made you infinitely happier. Way to go. I was sitting here at home feeling a little sad about this and that, but reading this instantly cheered me up with conviction that we don’t have to always do whatever else is doing. We can go our own way. By ourselves. And be a lot happier. Woohoo!

  76. Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End says:

    It’s good to learn your strengths and embrace your weaknesses. Many people try to do things they’re not made to do, when they could be spending time enjoying the things that they are. Not to say it’s a bad thing to try new things.. just realize when you’ve reached your limit and take it in stride.

    The next time someone tells you to ‘take a hike’, I suppose you can tell them it’s not your thing. 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hahaha good point!

  77. I love that you and Michael both failed this hike. I almost had the same experience. We got lost trying to find the canyon in the first place and then hiked all the way to the Oasis with the plan to hike back out the same day in the afternoon heat! It was insane and we were so jealous of the people in the pool. But we ignored the mules and struggled back out again, just before nightfall! I will never forget that day!

  78. Top 10 Nuclear Power Countries in The
    I love that you and Michael both failed this hike. I almost had the same experience.

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