This story takes place back in 2012, which as I type this I recognize as not being all that long ago. And yet that year marked the point at which I began transitioning from a person who enjoys walks to a person who enjoys hikes.
What is the difference between the two you say? (Humor me. This is what you are saying)
Well…I suppose it depends upon who you ask.
For me it wasn’t length that changed. Wren and I had been taking walks that ranged from short 2 mile jaunts to walks that stretched easily to 10 miles. The longer ones sometimes required multiple Starbuckings.
Neither was it a transition to carrying a bag or backpack. That didn’t come until late last year.
The change was that previously walking had been ancillary to the conversation that was being had while walking. We never really walked “to” anywhere (aside from Starbucks), and the destination was the conversation. Something about walking makes conversation flow more readily. Its like the physical act of moving carries the conversation along with it.
In 2012 Wren and I visited Peru to see Machu Picchu. Also we ate a lot of ceviche, drank a lot of pisco and lost horribly in Gin Rummy to our friendly inn-keepers (a pair of sisters who rent rooms out in their home now that their children had moved out).
The main portion of Machu Picchu is large enough to spend a couple of hours wandering through. But where we really found ourselves enjoying the hiking aspect of it was the hike to the top of Wayna Picchu.
Wayna Picchu is 1180′ (360m) higher than Machu Picchu – and the ascent is nearly entirely stairs that date back to the construction of the temple in 1400’s. Steep, slippery, narrow and winding, at points the path is nearly vertical with steel cables bolted (a modern touch) into the mountain itself for a bit of assistance. We reveled in the climb even as we had to keep stopping to catch our breath.
As has been persistently been the case, the views from the top were worth it.