I advised the guide that I had been sick, but I didn't have a fever, so I should be ok for the day. He told me to just drink the porridge and eat a piece of bread for breakfast. I tasted the porridge, but couldn't choke down more than an ounce or two. I was able to eat the bread and a few sips of tea, and that seemed to sit in my stomach ok, so I believed the worst was over.
We started the day with a steep 2 hour hike to the Apurimac River at the bottom of the canyon.
When I finally caught up, the others asked if I needed a break. They were getting bit by midges, so I said I was ok and that we could move on.
Arturo told us that it would take us about 2 hours of constant hiking uphill until we reached the small village of Santa Rosa, where we should stop for a brief rest and snack. For the first hour, I felt ok climbing. However, after about an hour, I "hit a wall". Suddenly I had no energy and was a little dizzy. I figured that I was probably a little dehydrated from being sick all night, combined with lack of food.
I told the group to go ahead and I would catch them later. I sat down on the side of the trail and ate a banana. After a few minutes, I started hiking again, only to throw up a few minutes later. I took a short break, then started hiking again. A few minutes later, my intestines rumbled and I needed to "find a bush". Unfortunately, they were few and far between, but the rest of the group was ahead so I didn't worry about being seen.
I started hiking again, but continued to vomit and have diarrhea, feeling weaker and weaker with every step. I was breaking out in a cold clammy sweat and felt very dizzy. I worried I was getting heat stroke or severely dehydrated. I had gatoraid powder, but didn't want to mix it with my full container of water, so I poured some of the powder in my mouth and then tried to swish it around with water. All that accomplished was to produce purple puke.
I was about 20 minutes away from Santa Rosa when Arturo checked on me. I really didn't think I could go any further. He told me that I needed to keep going and once I got to the rest stop, they would unpack the cargo from the emergency horse and I could ride to the lunch stop in Maranpata. The next 20 minutes were pure torture, but at least my entire digestive tract was empty and nothing came out with each stop.
When I finally reached Santa Rosa, I collapsed on the ground with relief. I bought small bottle of water to mix with the rest of the gatoraid powder and took a few sips of that. I also bought a Sprite and took a couple sips of that. I ate part of a cookie and took a bite of the fruit from my snack bag, but I had no appetite.
Finally the emergency horse was ready for me. The group started hiking the next 2 hours up the mountain to Maranpata, and I ungracefully got on the horse.
The horse was worse than hiking! The stirrups were too high so my knee was bent into an uncomfortable position and it almost immediately started cramping. The horse lurched forward and back as it climbed over rocks on the way up the mountain. With each bump I worried that I would either vomit on the horse or crap my pants. After about 20 minutes and 2 km, I had to ask Vilmar to stop the horse and let me off of it. I had to hike the rest of the way myself, because I felt worse riding the horse than hiking.
I attempted to eat lunch, having part of a hard boiled egg, a couple sips of soup, and a few bites of rice.
Unfortunately, that triggered an immediate trip to the "bathroom"
The trail wasn't nearly as steep, and was fairly flat with minor rolling hills. It was exciting to get the first glimpse of Choquequirao ruins. I got to the park entrance and sat and waited for the group. They caught up to me a couple of minutes later.
When I arrived at camp, I used the bathroom (a real flush toilet!!) then crashed in the tent. I napped through tea and had a raging fever by the time dinner started. I sipped a bit of soup, ate a couple of french fries and a few bites of rice, then started taking the Cipro antibiotics that I brought with me.
Arturo decided that I had food poisoning from something I ate in Cusco and was too sick to hike the next day so he changed the itinerary. Instead of camping one night at Choquequiro and leaving the next day, we would spend the full day here tomorrow, camp here again the next night, and then combine two days of hiking when we left. The rest of the group was ok with it.
I excused myself from the dinner table and curled up into a ball in my sleeping bag, hoping the Cipro would do the trick.
Distance: 15 km/ 9 miles
Time: 8.5 hours
Elevation gain: 1600 m / 5,245'
Elevation loss: 300 m / 984'
Camping at 3033 m / 9,950'