Machu Picchu !!
Machu Picchu Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
March 23rd, 2007 – by: jmaretich
We decided to assault Huayna Picchu first. They require you to sign a log book as you start, and as you exit. I guess if you are unaccounted for by 4:00, they come looking for you. Last bus off the mountain was around 5:30. The hike was not long distance wise. We were told the record for reaching the summit was just over 15 minutes. After an unremarkable beginning, the trail quickly became steeper. Visualize climbing a series of stepladders.
The return trip was not as tough, however; just slow in places. The steep "stepladders" we had ascended now had to be negotiated coming down, but not facing the steps as we had done on the way up. Imagine coming down a 10 foot step ladder, but with your body turned 180 degrees. We were drenched with sweat when we finally signed out in the log book, but if I ever return I will climb to the peak again.
The next several hours were spent roaming and exploring the park. Intihuatana is an odd shaped monument of granite standing nearly six feet tall. It's purpose is thought to mark the winter solstice. Other theories contend it may have been a solar observatory to determine the best times for planting and harvesting crops.
Nearby on the Sacred Plaza is the Temple of the Three Windows. Not far away is the Temple of the Sun whose only window also aligns with the Sun Gate. Again, speculation abounds concerning the sun's path and the winter solstice, but no one is sure.
With much reluctance I finally headed to the exit, but before departing l Iearned that the park office will stamp your passport! That was pretty nice, considering the passport stamps from other countries are often not legible.
That evening we boarded our train for the return to Cusco. We were greeted with a very entertaining fashion show during the journey. It apparently was quite a success since many sweaters and shawls were purchased.
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