Today I did a hike called Denny Creek - Melakwa Lake, but I didn't quite make it to the lake. I got a very late start (hit the trail at 1:30pm). I was almost 2.5 hours in and thought I must be close to the lake, but I had given myself a 4:00 turn around time to ensure I made it back with plenty of light.
At 3:50 a guy on his way down told me I was at least 45 mins from the lake so I decided to turn back. Turns out, I could have made the lake because the descent breezed by!
It was very steep and rocky and was a good reminder to bring hiking poles on the Inca Trail! I was only carrying 15 pounds (much less on the descent after drinking 2 or my 3 liters of water and eating most of my food) and my feet were still hurting. Luckily, I have good knees, but my arches and toes hurt from all the rocky terrain.
I put 5 pounds of popcorn kernels in ziploc bags and put those in my pack. Someone has told me use water bottles for extra weight so that you can pour them out at the top and save your knees on the descent. I may try a combination of that at some point.
The trail head was 2,300' and the lake summit would have been 4,650' so I'm guessing I was at around 3,800' when I turned around?? I've got to buy an altimeter soon!
The entire trip took 4 hours. As long as I paid attention to my energy level and ate enough, and realized that when I started to get cold I needed to put on another layer because I was zapping my body's energy, I was fine!