Over drinks the other night, a friend mentioned how much she missed going backpacking here in California. The problem was she didn’t have anyone to go with. Then, she gave me one of those looks. You see she knows that I do a lot of backpacking in Peru and is mystified why I only indulge in this sport south of the equator.
Here are my reasons.
- I don’t have to carry my own backpack. I carry a day pack with water and snacks while a horse, llama, or porter carries my backpack.
- I eat gourmet meals on the trail. Lomo saltado, homemade soup, pancakes and eggs, freshly popped popcorn, and trout are examples of some of the meals I’ve eaten while backpacking. No Top Ramen, freeze-dried veggies, or beef jerky for me!
- The cook brings a steaming cup of coca tea to my tent each morning. It’s not quite breakfast in bed, but it’s as close as I’ve gotten while camping.
- If I get really tired or sprain an ankle, I can ride the emergency horse. (Note there is no emergency horse on the Inca Trail, so you better be in good shape before you attempt it. Also, if you weigh more than 170 or 180 pounds, you’re on your own. The horses in Peru are too small to carry you.)
- The porters set up bathroom tents at camp so I don’t have to look for a random tree or rock to hide behind while I am there.
- A professional, knowledgeable guide ensures that I don’t get lost, describes local flora and fauna, explains what I am looking at when I pass through Inca ruins, and shares stories about life in Peru.
In short, backpacking in Peru is an interesting combination of roughing it and luxury. And, that little bit of luxury makes all the difference!