The Lost Inca Trail Expedition

This winter, we will leave on an expedition to locate an elusive Inca Trail through the Llanganates Park in the Andes of Ecuador, following in the footsteps of Isabel Brookes, circa 1920.
In a land so harsh people are rarely seen, our female only team will attempt to track down Valverde’s trail and follow it through this wild and unexplored region of the Andes. This area is highly difficult to reach and is traversed only by foot as there are a large number of rivers, emptying out the Andes, making it difficult to cross.
There is a 500-year-old map with a dotted line and an X that marks the spot of King Atahualpa’s hidden gold ransom, but the team is interested in the tough trail that apparently leads to the treasure. The terrain is swampy, with mountainous jungle, there are no modern maps and the land is uninhabitable and very inhospitable. Wildlife includes puma, wolves and the spectacled, or Andean, bear.
We leave in mid-November and return to UK just before Christmas 2018.


Looking for a Lost Inca Trail – the excitement is mounting!
In the year that celebrates a century since women got the vote, let’s hope our pioneering expedition will help shout out that women, more than ever, are competing with the men at every level! Right now there are dozens of women cycling, walking, canoeing round the world, climbing mountains and all the other ways one can conquer the globe with spirit and courage and I love hearing about their exploits.
Our 2018 expedition is going to show that exploration is alive and well at all ages, levels of fitness and with a team from differing backgrounds; in fact, you could call us, the middle-aged bunch with three children between us. By entering the Llanganates Park in the Ecuadorian Andes we are going to a wilderness that would test the toughest army cadet, but it’s not a race; we will take our steps wisely and use the local knowledge to progress deeper into the mysterious park that is steeped in historical intrigue.
Our team is complete and I’m thrilled at who we have on board. This isn’t a team of ‘who can I get to come’ this is a group of women that I really want to spend time with and I know that everyday I will learn new things from them. Jo C is going to lead us on a botanical journey where each tiny orchid flower and strange plant is going to give the journey a sense of wonder and we will consult with the orchid expert Lou Jost who lives on the side of the mountain about our finds. The story of King Atualpha’s lost Inca treasure will be Becky’s domain as we close in on the area where it was supposedly hidden and Jo B, our mountain leader will guide us through safely some of the most challenging terrain, closely resembling Mordor from Lord of the Rings. Translating the old maps and Valverde’s derretoro will be the fun part – can we actually follow his trail once we are on it?
But we will take all precautions to make sure we are safe, enlist guides and porters who are tough and reliable and we will be prepared for whatever this extraordinary region can throw at us. It won’t be sunny, it won’t be any sort of picnic, but it will be an experience that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Having a great team is the essence, being able to trust and look out out for each other, sing, cry and laugh, even when we are soaking wet.
We are not looking for the Inca gold – that should be left in it’s sunken lake forever, it’s the story and surrounding mystery that we are seeking. Also, why did poor Isabel Brookes allegedly die in the region? We will report back and let you know! In the meantime, to all our supporters who offer assistance and support to our very big middle-age-ladies’ adventure, a huge thank you.