The Inca Trail

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Machu Picchu at last!

The last 4 days have been spent on the Inca Trail, something I have dreamed of doing for most of my life. I did the walk with Sanjay, who came out to Peru especially for this and with a group of 14 in total (7 english, 5 australians, a kiwi and an american). The trekking company Llama Path was excellent, with great food and brilliant service and we were spurred on by the Red Army, the porters who unlike most companies all walk together and are well equipped for walking with boots and poles.

The first day was pretty easy, a flat walk for 3 hours along the Urubamba river to our lunch stop. After our first taste of the great and abundant food to come, we walked another hour steep uphill to our campsite at 3300m, 300m higher than most companies camp in order to give us an easier second day.

Day two we left camp just before 7 to start the climb up to Dead Woman's Pass at 4200m.

I was the first person to reach the top after a lung busting 1 hour 45 minutes, with the last people getting in after about 3 hours walking. Unfortunately the rain closed in then and so we had a wet morning descending down to the lunch stop, where most of the other groups camp. We climbed the second pass at 4000m and then went back down to 3600m for the second campsite. On the way we visited an inca site that is only approachable by a rather narrow and scary stone staircase carved out of the cliff.

Day three was much easier, with a gentle two hour walk on the flat and then a descent to 2600m to WiƱay Waynu where we camped for the third night. Bit tough on the knees, but the inca site there was a sight for sore eyes. We finished walking at lunchtime and had the rest of the day off.

The last day was a very early start to get first to the guard post just outside the camp.

From there the tickets are stamped and the gate opened at 5.30am and a great stampede of hikers try to get to the Sun Gate as fast as possible. We were carried along with the crowd in the rain and heat and at the sun gate, there was no view of Machu Picchu, or even when we got to the great site itself. Fortunately after we started the tour around 8am, the sun came out, we dried off and the great views of Machu Picchu revealed themselves. Left the site at about 12pm to go down to Aguas Calientes for the lunch meeting and goodbye to our fellow treckers.

Sanjay and I, plus three of the group stayed on in Aguas Calientes for an extra night, where we spent a few relaxing hours in the thermal baths with a beer or two that were well deserved. Inca trail, job done, TICK!

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Machu Picchu at last!
Machu Picchu at last!
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz