“Way up there?” I asked Silver Ballón, our guide, who was pointing up to the 13,000 ft. summit.
“Don’t worry. You don’t have to go all the way up. There are amazing views all along the way.” he replied.
I immediately thought it was a trick. And it was, but the very best kind.
Few places inspire hiking as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The most famous hike, the Inca Trail is a multi-day arduous trek, with each day ending at a camp site. But like most Baby Boomers, my backpacking and camping days were over, and gladly so.
I decided on the 7-day Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu with AdventureSmith Explorations, an eco-touring company that specializes in custom trips to Peru. They offer daily hikes with a local guide during the day, and a luxury lodge at night.
Right from the beginning, Silver demonstrated a keen assessment of our small group of Baby Boomer women – our desired itinerary and our level of fitness. Along with visits to weaving villages, shopping in local markets, and eating pachamancha – meat and potatoes cooked underground with hot stones – Silver created a daily hiking experience that perfectly suited our abilities.
Oh, and Silver’s trick? Knowing how much we love our Instagram photo ops, he’d hike us up challenging paths, and when we arrived at an intermediate viewpoint, he’d stop for us to rest and have water. Then he’d take our cameras and encourage horseplay… jumps, the shot from the back looking at the scenery, the pretend-you’re-walking shot, etc. We would inevitably end up roaring with laughter, and the result was physical and emotional re-charging and the ability to continue.
Some of the hikes were challenging, not in length, but in extreme altitude and steepness. But we did them all, and I believe anyone in relatively good health could do the same, taking as many stops as needed.
Read about the hikes in the Sacred Valley in Getting on Travel.
Want more Baby Boomer inspiration? Check these out!
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