Trekking The Bolivian Inca Trail: Day 2

Trek 2-0
Day two was all about endless tree and plant covered hills!

“Pass through one of the few untouched cloud forest left in Bolivia, protected by the Cotapata National Park. The trail descends through narrow valleys showing more trees, orchids, bromeliads and larger cloud forest trees. Colorful birds and butterflies could be seen. This habitat is home of the Spectacled Bear, rarely seen by visitors. Lunch on the way. After approximately another seven-hour descent, you will reach the San Francisco Camp at 8,528 ft. (2,600 m).”
Trek 2-17:00 a.m. start to the second day of trekking. My shoulders were doing well, but my hips, knees, and calf muscles were still in absolute agony from the steep mountain descent of the previous day.

Trek 2-2My sister-in-law (who became a grandmother the day before we took off on our journey!) crosses one of the many rustic bridges that have been built across innumerable streams.

Trek 2-3The sun starts to peek out over the hills. Due to the lower elevation and tropical vegetation, day two was on average much warmer than day one.

Trek 2-4We walked along wet, muddy stones for hours on end. When the path started sloping down, things got even more complicated. Slowly buy surely, I eventually made my way though this difficult section of the trek.

Trek 2-5It was absolutely fascinating to see all of the green plants along the trail!

Trek 2-6It was right around here where I started to feel like Indiana Jones. (Luckily, there was no giant boulder rolling down the path.)

Trek 2-7Taking a break in front of a small waterfall along the river, way down in the valley.

Trek 2-8I have never seen so many ferns in my life…there seemed to be millions of them, of all shapes and sizes.

Trek 2-9Midway through day two, we stopped at this thatch covered rest area for lunch. We we now officially at the (approximate) midpoint of the entire three-day trek!

Trek 2-10Me crossing one of the numerous suspension cable bridges. By this point I had started to learn the pattern: after coming down a high hillside in order to cross the river on a bridge, we now had to climb back up another high hillside to continue on our journey.

Trek 2-11For hours on end, we had a panoramic view of tree-covered hills for as far as the eye could see. It was quite a sight!

Trek 2-12At a certain point I realized that many of the “bushes” right to the left of the path were actually the tops of trees from way below!!! This was definitely one place where I didn’t want to fall or take a wrong step.

Trek 2-13Entrance to an abandoned mine.

Trek 2-14Yet again, we had to come down another hill, walk across a suspension bridge, and climb back up another hill.

Trek 2-15Success! Our day two campsite, with our tent nestled under a straw roof. After dinner it was straight to bed–we had a 5:00 a.m. wake up call the next morning, and would be trekking down into the floor of the jungle. (We also had no clue that a rain storm would roll in during the middle of the night!)

This trek was not only a celebration of my recent return to good health, it was also a celebration of the hope that resides in each and every person who lives with inflammatory arthritis, and of the will to keep moving.

ShowUsYourHands_badge_125x125Please join me in these celebrations by making a donation to Show Us Your Hands! a nonprofit charity organization that serves to unite and inspire people who live with inflammatory arthritis. 100% of all funds donated will go directly towards community programs, including the Inflammatory Arthritis Community Collage, the Our Hands Can! Photo Book, and community posters.

For more information, please visit trekforhope.causevox.com.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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