It seems like a dream but allows me to say that in 40-something days, I’m headed to Peru…to hike the Salkantay Trail. What you may not know is that this one trip has been two–TWO–years in the making. It’s the weirdest trip I’ve ever taken.
Years in the Making
Not so much on a whim but rather on a spur-of-the-moment, “I need something new” kinda feeling, I remember the day in April of 2019 that I hit the purchase button on a trip to hike Peru’s Salkantay Trail, a lesser-known sister trail of the much more famous Inca Trail. It was actually Easter Day, the very day that I discovered my dog June, pictured adorably here, literally ate herself out of her metal crate.
If that wasn’t a metaphor for my life as I lived vicariously through her own canine “resurrection” story, I don’t know what would be and with that in mind, on a mild and sunny, blue-skied April day I transacted with more money than I had ever spent in one purchase on a tour-led trip that would guide me up that mountain, a modest 15,000 footer (so, not, you know, Everest…but a challenge nonetheless) with a descent into Macchu Picchu, definitely a bucket-list destination for me.
March of 2020 would be the moment. For 6-months a trained my glutes and posterior chain, sucked enough oxygen via Wim Hof breathing to make me dizzy and assembled my packing needs. I left for Cleveland with bags in tow to drop June off at my parent’s, crate-free, and get on the road.
That’s right. March 15, 2020.
The day the world closed because of this Sars-COV-2 virus.
In February 2021, we briefly reconsidered the trip…and again postponed. The world was too fragile. Millions of people would be on the path toward dying from COVID. Flights were tenuously scheduled and canceled in record numbers. I was at my parents’ house (again), still wiping down our groceries. I hadn’t even bought my first KN-94 mask yet. Oh, the quaint olden-times of mid-pandemic. Another year, the trip would wait.
The World (and the Andes) Re-Opens
It was right around my birthday, mid-October 2021, that my thoughts meandered back to Peru. I was still fully paid and ready to go…but was I ready to go? At some point, the answer has to be yes or “no forever.” At the point, lockdowns were softer, many more people had taken to wearing masks regularly, other activities that had proven to be deathly (like singing in choir, of all things) had resumed with new protocols. So, when the tour company sent out a gentle temperature check, I dove in with both feet.
In a year that had proven choir, of all things, to be a deadly hobby, it seemed fitting that climbing a mountain in the fresh Peruvian air via a fairly lesser-traveled trail felt one of my safer options.
And, thusly, planning and training recommenced. March 2022, three full years after the idea originally presented itself, would be the moment.
KP Climbs a Mountain
For a long part of this time of waiting, this trip has felt daunting: in the uncertainty of COVID, the tenuousness of practicalities in a world that has become unpredictable and distinctly impractical, and the essential challenge of it. AND the fact that the finish line keeps moving out of reach.
I’m glad to be going now for so many reasons. It will be a different challenge, a more complex challenge, and that’s maybe exactly what I need.