The 3rd day of hiking dawned a bit rainy, but not drenching. We were awakened, as usual, by a porter scratching at our tent, with hot cocoa tea and a small basin of hot water to wash in. At this point we learned to get up, packed and out the tent as fast as possible, or the porters would begin taking down our tent around us! Having done that, and visited the seatless toilet, we ate a nice hot breakfast and began our day of hiking. The rain, unfortuately, did not stay away for long and soon we were again hiking in it.
The third day was the longest distance--I think it was 10 miles--but a mix of up, down and level hiking, through some valleys and across some ridges and then down miles of steps. I was still feeling like shit, without the ability to catch my breathe, and, while the downhill and level trails were ok, any uphill was agony. We again, hiked until around 2 pm before we got to our lunch spot, another camp area which would have looked out over some good views, but which was just more clouds. As soon as we got to the spot and took off our packs, the rain started in earnest. Lunch was good, as usual, with hot soup, an entree and tea/water. The bathroom was again seatless, and about 1/4 mile down a path, I struggled to get back up to our dining tent. I was beginning to feel like I had a fever. The rain poured, and then really poured, when our guide, Julio, said we needed to get moving, so we could make the final camp site in time for dinner. Off we went, into the absolute drenching downpour. This was our lot for most of the remainer of the day, as we started down the thousands of steps for this part of the trail. Water was running in rivers down the stone steps and its a wonder no one slipped. Thank god for hiking poles. I was able to keep up with Karen going down the steps, which made me feel like less of a loser. We passed a couple of more ruins, one right after we left the lunch spot and another some hours later. I chose not to hike up steps to one of the ruins, chosing to sit below a rock overhang and rest. I was beat at this point, and feeling worse by the hour.
After the break, we descended through a rain forest part, in the rain, and down more steps. Porters were running down the steps with their huge packs, like it was nothing. Pretty impressive. The last couple of hours was the hardest for me, I was feverish, and tired, and dizzy and just wanted to lie down. I began to be a bit concerned as I was really feeling bad.
The last camp site is the same for everyone, it was packed, and there were some hot showers and a restaraunt/bar. As we finally got there, the rain stopped and we could see the river valley and surrounding mountains. Very pretty. I crashed for a bit before dinner. As I lay there, I could hear a couple of porters talking behind the tent, one guy kept reciting the names of the porters, like he was counting them, I presume to know how the tip was to be divided up. Weird. Karen, along with some of the others in the group went to the "bar" and had some beers, I rallied enough to walk down there, but didn't stay long. The last meal was followed by the tip ceremony, where we as a group gave tips to the cook, the porters and the guides. It was kind of strange, Julio was translating and I swear he didn't translate what they said correctly. Not sure why. More partying ensued, not for me, I was trying to sleep and feeling like shit. Sometime in the night, it began to rain again.