My Machu Picchu Birthday Walk

I’d like to introduce you to Beverley, of Sydney, Australia, who decided to walk the Inca trail to Machu Picchu 2 years ago at Xmas 2013 to celebrate her 50th birthday. 

Beverley striking a yoga pose on Machu Picchu aged 50
Beverley striking a yoga pose on Machu Picchu aged 50

Beverley’s story of her climb is inspirational because it proves that we are never too old to achieve feats of strength and endurance just because we are ageing.  Our bodies are fine, strong things that need our efforts to maintain them so that we age with zest and vitality.

Read Beverley’s story and let your imagination take hold, let your feet itch to get out walking and your heart sing with pride at her achievements. 

I’ll let her do the talking!

Hi, I’m Beverley and I’m on a mission to motivate and inspire women in mid-life to realise they can have it all – health, vitality and wealth.

I love adventure and certainly won’t be slowing down. I think you reach 50 and you either realise that time is ticking away and you need to get on with life or you go into contentment mode and “happy with life’s lot” way of thinking.  If you are happy with that then great!

But I want to write myself into a bigger story.

Attitude and choices – what we focus on expands and we can do anything we put our minds to.  Here’s how I spent my 50th birthday!

My preparation:

I prepared for my Machu Picchu birthday walk in a number of ways.

Firstly, I lost my excess baggage! – Yes the fat type!  I was carrying an extra 10 kg due to excuses around menopause and ‘that’s just what happens when you get older!’

So April – June 2013 I lost 10 kgs through a nutritional cleanse program.  I loved it and went from 76 kgs to 66 kgs – woo hoo!

It was life changing for me in terms of no longer having to carry that extra load and most importantly the energy it gave me through cleansing the organs in my body and enabling them to work more efficiently!  I believe that the cleanse and nutritional replenishment system made the trip so much more enjoyable for me, initially through releasing 10kgs but also the lean muscle that it helped build.

The energy it gave me made the trip amazing, not a struggle!  I can’t tell you how good I felt having done the cleanse – more like a full body re-set – 10 kg released and loads of energy!  I feel as though I’ve got my body and energy back from my 20s!  (Yes I said 20s not 30s!)

The Gear I took:

Secondly, in terms of gear, I bought some great ankle boots from North Face & a rain jacket – both light and comfy and of course some snuggle socks!

I also bought some trekking pants … although my yoga pants were also useful on the trek – stretchy, comfortable and quick drying.  A Camel backpack with water mouth piece was a life saver!

My Vital Tip #1 for this particular trek would be:  Don’t forget your poncho! 

Of all the things we took our good old $4 clear plastic ponchos were the winner! Jackets were too hot and the ponchos slide over your back pack and yourself – perfect!

Physical Training:

Thirdly, I began training 3 months prior to going.  I walked twice a week for 1-2 hours and did the split bridge to Manly coastal track twice a month (9 km) and trekked canyons in the Blue Mountains one weekend.

It made me strong enough for the trek but nothing can prepare you for the altitude – the Inca trail peaks at ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at 4,200 meters. The air is thin and breathing is difficult.

I was very concerned about how I would cope with the altitude up there.  I just didn’t know how I was going to react to thinning air– however much training you have done you still don’t know.  We allowed a week to acclimatise in Peru beforehand.

Also, I cricked my ankle 2 weeks prior to going!  Ahh!  Physio taught me how to strap my ankle to prevent it going over even with high top boots – so I strapped it for the first couple of days.Once we started walking I was amazed at the scenery and found the trek challenging!

I felt very strong at the beginning – nutrition right and I’d trained right!  But as we got higher our little group of four soon started to feel the effects of altitude … not altitude sickness but because the air is so thin, breathing becomes more difficult and your heart beats like mad!

On day 2 we climbed 1200 meters, for what felt like 3km, up the mountain to Dead Woman’s Pass.   We ended up having to do just 20 steps and stopping … 20 steps and stopping, probably about 100 times! Slow consistent effort!

Beverley, her Oz girlfriend and the 2 Americans who dreamed of a taxi to the top!
Beverley, her Oz girlfriend and the 2 Americans who dreamed of a taxi to the top!

I think our 2 Americanos thought they were only going for a walk in the park!  We had to motivate them and help them to the top! Yeah!

Ages of hikers on the MP trail:

Ages in our little group of 4 ranged through the 40s and I was the oldest in our group at 50.

Each day only 250 trekkers and 250 porters are allowed to start the Inca trail. The trekkers ranged from their 20s to 60s.  I would say 80% of trekkers were under 40.

I had packed my own nutritional ‘super food’ shake for breakfast (the one I had used on my nutritional cleanse and have been using ever since), some protein bars and natural energy drinks to boost me which worked really, really well. Having the right nutrition made all the difference.

My mental attitude can be summed up in the following way:  I never felt like giving up – (that isn’t an option when you are in the middle of nowhere!)  Slow and steady as she goes – it’s not a race – just keep moving – one step at a time – and lead from the back – help those who are struggling mentally to keep on trekking ….with the end goal in mind.

I can recall three examples of the “best moments” from my birthday trek.

at the very start of the Inca Trail
at the very start of the Inca Trail

At the start having our pic taken under the start sign – we’d trained and were fit and this was what we’d done it for!

Beverley at the Sun Gate looking down on Machu Picchu
Beverley at the Sun Gate looking down on Machu Picchu

Reaching the Sun Gate high above Macho Picchu – awesome view – we made it!

and

Tent yoga! – stretching each night – so funny having the American lads following verbal yoga commands in their tent next door!  Lots of moaning and groaning – and laughing!

And the worst moments were all about altitude effects.  I’d never experienced them before but it certainly wouldn’t put me off doing it again!  The recommended green tea mixture didn’t work for me.

(I’d also have to say that the toilet facilities are not for the faint-hearted!)

what goes up!  descent from the heavens
what goes up! descent from the heavens

My future plans:

My next big adventures include the following –

– over Xmas I’m cycling with a good friend Warren on an organised trip from China into Burma on the ‘Road to Mandalay’ 798km – NYE in Mandalay! Can’t wait!

– trekking in Tasmania a 7 day hike in Feb 2016 through World Heritage Areas of Tasmania, combining two of Tassie’s most iconic wilderness locations – The Walls of Jerusalem National Park and Cradle Mountain via http://womensfitnessadventures.com.

I think when you reach 50 something changes on your appreciation of life.  Having the vitality to love, laugh and live life to the full!  Life is too short and we have to get out and do it whilst we still can!

When I look at my own mother, she inspires me so much.

She was widowed at 60 and is the healthiest 77 year old I know.  She chose to “live life” when Dad died and has such a positive attitude – it is infectious!  She does yoga, wood work, singing, Pilates, sewing and helps in the community and church – but she is probably an exception not the rule for that generation.

I think that for our generation of Baby Boomers, we want to age gracefully and we have the finances to do it!

We know that good health is the key to ageing gracefully.  I’m sure I’ll be able to walk 90 km in my 90s!! (It will be the new 50s by then!  LOL!)

***

How inspiring are Beverley AND her mother?

Beverley’s site is http://www.vitalityforeveryone.com where you can find out more about her work and that nutritional cleanse she so highly recommends.

If you have an inspiring adventure you want to share that shows we are never too old to get off our derrieres, then email me at nancy@walksit.com and send some photos et voila!  your story HERE!

Good travelling,

Nancy

About Nancy Liddle

In 2014 I walked from Seville to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, some 800 ks I walked, aged 56. I learnt that no matter what age we are, our bodies are strong work-horses. Ageing doesn't have to be the nightmare that our culture feeds us. We can be strong and vital and energetic! And meditation exercises our minds. Clearly these discoveries have impacted my life deeply.

7 thoughts on “My Machu Picchu Birthday Walk

  1. Awesome interview! We did the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu in 2013 – it was amazing! I would definitely go back, and would love to spend an extra couple of days exploring the ruins. We also climbed Machu Picchu mountain which is 2 hours above Machu Picchu – the views are AMAZING but it was hard going after all the trekking!

    • Hi Serena, yes it was an amazing experience! loved the adventure and very special to see Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail … winu picchu looked a very hard climb … good on you! very exciting to be able to complete it … what next …. 🙂

  2. You have my total respect. Is MP mountain the same as the Sun Gate? I would lose 4 kilos just shaking with terror going up and down. Too scarifying.

  3. Hi Beverley, I really admire your stamina however, I hate walking to the car, let alone climbing Macchu Picchu. LOL

    • Hi Rick, thanks so much for your comment! It was an amazing experience & nothing you could ever plan for. I know how you feel … when I started out trying to get fit, losing some weight and gaining stamina it was hard at the beginning … like walking to your car but I knew I just had to keep on going! Well worth it in the end! an other tick on the bucket list box 🙂