Trip Profile: Climb For Cancer Inca Trail (June 3-10, 2018)
For many hikers, the 26-mile, four-day trek to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail is a “bucket list” hike, on account of its challenging terrain through stunning scenery, vibrant communities, and magnificent ruins. While this section is only one small part of the of the sprawling road system originally used by the Incas, its significance has long run deeper to those who traveled it. From the 1500s, this part of the trail has been considered sacred, the path of a ceremonial pilgrimage to a site thought by many to possess mystical powers. This alignment of physical challenge with personal journey makes the Inca Trail the perfect setting for the Climb for Cancer Foundation’s fundraising hike in June 2018.
Climb for Cancer
Founded in 2002 by Ron and Dianne Farb, the Climb for Cancer Foundation seeks to support cancer patients and their families by addressing logistical and emotional needs that often go underserved and overlooked. The foundation has raised over $1.5 million for programs providing food vouchers and gas cards, psycho-social support, and opportunities for outreach and community connection.
Holbrook Travel has worked with Climb for Cancer since 2013 to offer fundraising climbing expeditions for those who wish to combine their love of adventure with the desire to make a difference – often inspired by a loved one in their own life. “We are all hiking for someone, be it family or friend, who has been challenged by cancer. That common thread quickly creates a sense of community and purpose within the team,” says Bill Fisher, who traveled with Ron to Pagatonia on a Climb for Cancer expedition in 2016. “It’s never a competition to the top but rather a journey of hope and personal growth.”
Hiking with Ron Farb
Climbing as a metaphor for rising above challenges and inspiring unity is at the heart of Ron’s vision, and a cornerstone of the Climb for Cancer Foundation. An experienced climber himself, Ron has ascended the highest mountain on five of the seven continents at least once, including Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Elbrus, and Kilimanjaro. His hiking expertise provides strong leadership particularly on the Inca Trail, where high altitude and steep inclines are notable challenges.
But beyond the physical aspects of an expedition, Ron also brings a passion for culture and history, as well as a knack for making memorable moments, even in unforeseen circumstances. “He organizes the trip in a way where every meal and every moment is meaningful,” says William Slayton, who previously traveled with Ron on the Inca Trail. When met with a longer layover than anticipated, Ron turned the situation into an opportunity. “Instead of staying at the airport, Ron took us into Lima to one of the best restaurants in the city. He wants to make sure you have a good experience on your trip.”
The Inca Trail
Making the “pilgrimage” along the Inca Trail is a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, in its unique confluence of athleticism, cultural significance, and spirituality. “A classic four day trek over Peru's most unforgettable landscapes brings you to one of the greatest mysteries of the Inca Empire, the sacred city of Machu Picchu,” Ron explains. “You will learn the incredible history, legends, and beliefs of the Incas, perpetuated still today by the local Quechua communities.”
After acclimatizing for two days in Ollantaytambo, the four-day hike will take you on the original granite path of the Incas, through hillsides lined with orchids, bromeliads, and bamboo, to archaeological sites like Runkuraqay and Sayaqmarka.
Holbrook’s own Laura Hare walked the Inca Trail in 2011, and offers an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to set foot on such a life-changing hike as a first-timer. “After day one, you cannot quit and go back. But being prepared physically and doing a little research will help you to be more confident that you will complete the trail,” she says. “And a good guide will pace you through the trek and leave you with incredible memories of this hike!”
Naturally, the significance of your journey reaches a peak as you arrive at your destination with an incredible sense of fulfillment, the culmination of perseverance, purpose, and team support. On the Inca Trail, the cultural context makes it even more poignant. “Seeing Machu Picchu from high above as you enter through the Sun Gate to the Sanctuary, you can just imagine what it must have been like hundreds of years ago for the Inca,” Laura shares.
Continue the legacy of both the Inca Trail and the Climb for Cancer Foundation by participating in the 8-day expedition led by Ron Farb in June 2018. x
Photos by Laura Hare