What I Learned from Hiking the Salkantay Trail

I hiked the Salkantay Trail in Peru in 2016 and it forever changed me. My friend and I flew to Peru and decided to hike the Salkantay Trail instead of the Inca Trail for its beauty and for its challenges. I was ready to kick-ass and complete the 55-mile hike!

The first two days I did pretty well with the altitude change. Didn’t feel much but on the day of the longest hike everything changed. I woke up feeling uneasy and my heart raced with any abrupt movement. Didn’t think of it much, I ate breakfast and we took off to our trail. Within the first 20 minutes of going uphill, I vomited. I felt extremely nauseous and thought that after vomiting I was going to feel better but I never did…

As we kept on hiking, I just kept feeling sicker. With every step I took, I felt like my brain was going to explode into a million pieces. My tour guide, along with the other guides on the trail, did everything to help me but I was just not getting any better. I wanted to give up and told my tour guide to get me a mule to take me to the top but there weren’t any available, I had to continue on, quitting was not an option.

I know I am a strong woman, physically, emotionally, and mentally but I felt so confused because my body was ready to give up and I had trained before the hike. That day I felt like the mountain was stripping me off of my ego. I felt so weak and vulnerable, and as human beings, we hate being vulnerable.

But here’s the thing, our mind drives our body and although my body wanted to give up my mind was determined to finish.   I had already gone through so much, it was pointless to give up and to be honest, I couldn’t give up because, one: nobody was going to carry me, two: all the mules had been taken, and three:  I couldn’t afford a helicopter ride. But even if they had mules available, I know myself too well and I wouldn’t have taken one because I wanted to do this myself. I knew I could do it, there was never a doubt in my mind and that’s what matters the most: to believe in yourself.

The mountain stripped me off my ego and left me naked for everybody to see my vulnerability. But with that, I gained a lot of confidence and I became more aware of my inner strength and the power of my mind. I look back on my trip and my soul smiles and I’m so grateful for this wonderful life lesson.

PS. Shout out to my tour guide Hugo from Terra Quechua and to all the beautiful people in Peru.

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