…the game is afoot!

Yes!  The game is actually afoot!

Departures from three North American cities begin today and tomorrow for the INHL Expedition to Peru and the trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!   For my part, everything resides within a 45-pound large wheeled duffel, including my trek poles and Talon 44 backpack and small daypack, amongst numerous vacuum-packed items of clothing, zip-lock bags of essential trek equipment and my Keen sandals.  In addition, one medium weight over-the-shoulder carry-on bag with my Dell laptop and some travel support items.  I’ll be wearing my heavy hiking boots to avoid tipping the scales on that critical 50-pound limit of my checked luggage!

Peru locator map...courtesy of the CIA

The challenge here, in planning the selection, sorting and packaging of the equipment and supplies we’ll each need to take, was that the weather is so different between the coast (where we arrive in Lima) and the high Andes Valley where Cusco is located, not to mention the high passes in the mountains on the trek to Machu Picchu.

It’s now Summer in Peru, and the coast basks in the humid warmth of sunny 80-degree afternoons, and lovely 70-degree mornings.  On the other hand, in the Cusco highlands and on the Inca Trail, it’s the “rainy season” and the urban temperature will be between 50 and 65 degrees…with the mountains being about 10 degrees cooler!  Daily precipitation probability will be about 60% throughout the highland expedition, similar to a strong “Monsoon Season” up in Cloudcroft or the Gila Wilderness back in the El Paso Southwest!  Not constant rain showers or downpours, but clouds which build up during the day and drop their moisture as they pass over the mountains. The range of clothing alone is a mind-numbing problem to grasp!  Of course, layers are the solution. So is a good-quality rain suit: I purchased a top-end Marmot brand that breathes well and is very light and packable.  However, I also had to pack a couple of Tommy Bahama shirts…as long as we were going to be near the beach part of the time!

Peru Map, also courtesy of the CIA

The hotels will pick us up from the respective airports: in Lima we’ll be whisked to the Miraflores Park Hotel tonight, overlooking the South Pacific Ocean; in Cusco, the Hotel Monasterio (a converted 16th Century Monastery) will have a driver waiting for us on Sunday!  An organization with as much historical baggage as the INHL needs to be comfortably housed to allow creative imaginations the room to absorb and perfect this experience.  We are seekers…searching for that elusive combination of adventure and mystery wrapped in a light blanket of comfort, to some extent.  When we get started on the Inca Trail trek, however, that “blanket” surely gets cast off!  A friend sent me this quote by Henry Van Dyke, which speaks to the moment at hand:

“It is only by thinking about great and good things

that we come to love them,

and it is only by loving them

that we come to long for them,

and it is only by longing for them

that we are impelled to seek after them;

and it is only by seeking after them

that they become ours.”

–Henry Van Dyke

So…the El Paso International Airport, the Nashville International Airport and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport now beckon this group of “seekers”, chasing a dream of “great and good things”…and the adventure begins!  I can finally truly say “the game is afoot“!

Will what we seek actually “become ours”, as Van Dyke promises?  And, what about this “loving them” that he speaks about on the way?  We’ll see, over the next two weeks. So will you, if you drop back in for another visit!  Late tonight, from South of the Equator, I’ll post another entry: this one from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere for the first time in my life!

~ by Dave Etzold on January 15, 2010.

5 Responses to “…the game is afoot!”

  1. What a fantastic experienc for you. My best wishes for a happy return.

  2. To: Chris Multhauf
    Subject: Re: FW: Etzold Inca Trail Blog

    IVE GOT THE BLOG IN FAVORITE PLACES AND WILL FOLLOW WITH MUCH INTEREST….AT SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE WILL THERE BE ANY OPENINGS FOR DOCENTS AT THE INHL MUSEUM…I’LL REALLY BE INTERESTED IN YOUR COMMENTS AND PHOTOS OF THE TRIP…LOVE TO ALL….NADS

  3. So excited for you guys to begin your trip – can’t wait to hear about it.

  4. wow what a interesting post , its really

  5. As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

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