Choosing & Losing” is a subscription-based quarterly zine from John Whitmore, featuring his words and images around some sort of theme. For Issue #2, Q2, 2021, Whitmore takes us back to his 2015 walk along the Inca Trail.

First off: I quite enjoyed this one. The text is brief and to the point, and the images introduced me to something I wasn’t aware of. And if that’s not the mark of a good zine, I don’t know what is.

The Inca Trail runs through the Andes and terminates at Machu Picchu. Most of the trail, including a bunch of steps up, over, and down mountains were constructed of stone by the Incas over 500 years ago. And from the little bit of reading I’ve done about it, the trail occupies a place in my mind like that of Mount Everest, with guide companies and porters to carry everyones gear and all, though without a summit.

The classic trail, which I’m guessing is the one Whitmore took, takes roughly four days, and ascends up pretty high. Whitmore reports making it through a bout of Altitude sickness, which mostly began when he arrived in Peru, but laid him low for a bit, a couple of days into the walk. All turned out well, and Whitmore came back with some nice pictures: in and around Cusco, where the trail started for him; various scenes on the trail; the porters huffing the groups’ kits up the trail (one group, all with red backpacks; another all with blue); through Dead Woman pass, past Pattalacta and Sayacmarca, and into Machu Picchu. I don’t expect to ever see these places in person, and, as mentioned above, I don’t recall ever hearing of the Inca Path (or the pass, or the other Inca citadels), so Choosing & Losing #2 is welcome, and does precisely what good zines do: narrow topic, narrowly considered, illuminating something that readers/viewers may not be aware of. Good stuff.


“The Inca Trail” just works, and overall I rate it a solid 3.5 stars.

“Choosing & Losing” is available as single issues and through a subscription model. Have a look at Whitmore’s website and give him some support and encouragement! I’m enjoying the series so far, and look forward to seeing what the next quarter brings.

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