7 Apr 2018 (Inca Trail, Peru): This hike is magnificent. Much of the path looks like it was laboriously made by hand (it was), the mountains are stunning, and the clouds have a mind of their own. Today is supposed to be the hardest day of the trek. We have about 4 hours uphill (to the point of max altitude), then 2 hours downhill to lunch, then 2 more hours uphill, then a final 2 hours downhill to our campsite. There are a lot of stairs, many expansive vistas, a fair amount of coca chewing, and a small amount of rain. It’s a long, hard hike, but honestly it’s not as hard as some of the previous hikes we’ve done on this trip. It’s possible we’re just mentally well-prepared, properly acclimatized to the altitude, and appropriately coca-d up. And everyone in the group finished each stretch in significantly less time than was estimated. Today is a lot of fun.