Machu Picchu Day!!!

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Morning mist.
5 am, Hostal Machu Picchu

It is Machu Picchu Day!  I feel a bit grumpy, even though I got my nap yesterday.  But I'm bound and determined to go on that hike to Huayna Picchu, and see some morning mist on the mountain.

8 pm, Hostal Machu Picchu

Not much solo time to write on this trip, but before I pass out, I just wanted to note that today was AWESOME.  What is there to write about a place that has been written about by so many?  How can I get substantial photos of a place which has been imaged by so many?  What makes my images unique?  I guess the fact that the writing and experience and images are my experience.
Huayna Picchu hike
 

We woke up at 4 am to get ready.  Had breakfast at 5 am, which was a beautiful buffet spread with little breads that I was absolutely into.  Kiwi fruit, bananas, juices, eggs, fried potatoes, and more! 

As soon as we finished, we joined the bus station zoo to get our bus tickets and wait in line.  They cranked through the line pretty fast, and it was a great opportunity to watch the sunrise mists up on the peaks. 

Local women walked up and down the bus line selling water, breakfast stuff, and film.  The views from the bus at sunrise were awesome.  Mist constantly changing, the road a switchback dirt thing with no guard rails, buses barrelling up and down, skillfully avoiding each other and the plunge into the Urubamba river valley. 

The buses deposited us near a fancy hotel just outside the gates to Machu Picchu, where we waited in another line.
Aerynn & Ali at Huayna Picchu! We made it! Machu Picchu is in the background, of course...
  Announcements told us that no food or beverages were allowed into Machu Picchu.  Since Alison and I were planning to try to hike to Huayna Picchu, this was completely baffling!  How were we supposed to survive a very vertical hike without water? 

We both had smallish backpacks.  We buried our water and food underneath other items in the bags, and proceeded through the gate without a hitch. 

The ruins and the mist were captivating, yet, we had a goal.  We marched quickly across the ruins to the other side of Machu Picchu, during which time it had started to rain!  I was glad I had bought a marmot rain jacket the night before we left Cusco. 

There was a line already forming at the gate to Huayna Picchu.  The hike to Huayna Picchu is very popular.
Huayna Picchu hike. Hanging stairs.
  To keep the trail safe, they only allow 400 people through to Huayna Picchu per day. 

The line forms early, and if you are near the front, you get to choose whether you want an 8am start time or a 10am start time.  Even though it was sill raining when we reached the front of the line, we decided to opt for the 8am start time.  Most people were choosing 10, hoping for less rain.  We were worried about slippery footing and poor visibility, but in the end we both agreed that the early start time was the best choice. 

As we hiked up stair after stair, the mist gradually cleared to reveal amazing views of the valley and the ruins, as well as the Huayna Picchu peak that we were ascending. 

Trying to capture the magic of the mist parting to reveal Machu Picchu below was an impossible task, but the photos are enough to jog my memory to the reality of my experience.
Huayna Picchu hike.
 

The trail was not for the feint of heart.  At some points it was so steep that a cable accompanied the trail.  The ruins are at around 9000 feet in elevation, which for most people, does not provide a comfortable level of oxygen while doing physical work. 

Near the top, the trail loops around and through the Huayna Picchu ruins, and even goes through a small cave that made me think of a rabbit hole from Alice In Wonderland.  For those that are not comfortable crawling through the cave, there are other paths that circumvent it. 

At the top we had our picnic lunch.  In the distance I could see a waterfall.  We were perched at the top of a rock slab that was angled as a slide.  At the bottom of the slide there was a small area where you could catch yourself before plummeting off a sheer cliff into the valley.
Looking out the Room of 3 Windows
  I wonder what the slide was for?

The hike down was  grueling because it was even more vertical, and we were already tired from the hike up!  The clouds had all dispersed and the drizzly morning had turned into a balmy Peruvian jungle day.  The hikers on their way up were pouring sweat and I was really glad I had done my hike up in the cool mist of the early morning. 

By the time we got back to Machu Picchu, we were both seriously ready for a potty break.  We had to exit the ruins through the gate, and wait in line to pay 1 Soles to use the bathroom.  It was a rather disappointing experience to have to pay for, although it made the rest of the day much easier. 

We rested for awhile at a food court area, and then went back to the ruins for round two!  By this point it was mid-afternoon, and we wanted to wait around for the light to begin to change.
Afternoon lighting
 

We didn't walk around much, as we were very tired, but mostly stayed on the entrance-side of Machu Picchu, visiting, taking pictures, watching the dynamic lighting as the clouds came in for the afternoon rain.  It didn't ever rain, but it threatened, and it was beautiful.

We took one of the last buses back down to Aguas Calientes; completely exhausted and ready for a hearty meal.  We chose a *good* restaurant, and ate pizza and soup! 

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Morning mist.
Morning mist.
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Aerynn & Ali at Huayna Picchu!  We…
Aerynn & Ali at Huayna Picchu! W…
Huayna Picchu hike.  Hanging stair…
Huayna Picchu hike. Hanging stai…
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Looking out the Room of 3 Windows
Looking out the Room of 3 Windows
Afternoon lighting
Afternoon lighting
Morning Mist.
Morning Mist.
Morning Mist at the Guard House.
Morning Mist at the Guard House.
Morning mist on our walk to line u…
Morning mist on our walk to line …
Morning mist at Machu Picchu
Morning mist at Machu Picchu
Waiting in the rain to hike to Hua…
Waiting in the rain to hike to Hu…
Morning mist and the trail to Huay…
Morning mist and the trail to Hua…
Huayna Picchu hike.  Yes, it was r…
Huayna Picchu hike. Yes, it was …
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike...Machu Picchu …
Huayna Picchu hike...Machu Picchu…
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu cave
Huayna Picchu cave
Huayna Picchu cave
Huayna Picchu cave
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.  Yep, it was t…
Huayna Picchu hike. Yep, it was …
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike.
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike.  This flower l…
Huayna Picchu hike. This flower …
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu hike
Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu
Ruins between Huayna Picchu and Ma…
Ruins between Huayna Picchu and M…
Observatory
Observatory
Guard House
Guard House
Afternoon
Afternoon
Afternoon
Afternoon
Afternoon
Afternoon
Me at Machu Picchu!
Me at Machu Picchu!
I never did find  out why there wa…
I never did find out why there w…
Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu in afternoon light.
Machu Picchu in afternoon light.
Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
Rock quarry area.
Rock quarry area.
Terraces
Terraces
This room was falling down!
This room was falling down!
Room of 3 Windows
Room of 3 Windows
Looking out the Room of 3 Windows
Looking out the Room of 3 Windows
Alpacas & humans cruising the ruin…
Alpacas & humans cruising the rui…
The alpacas actually run Machu Pic…
The alpacas actually run Machu Pi…
Natural lawnmowers
Natural lawnmowers
Alpacas mowing the lawn.
Alpacas mowing the lawn.
Afternoon at Machu Picchu
Afternoon at Machu Picchu
Huayna Picchu bathed in afternoon …
Huayna Picchu bathed in afternoon…
Life among the rocks.
Life among the rocks.
Afternoon light
Afternoon light
Machu Picchu terraces.
Machu Picchu terraces.
Afternoon light.  This place is be…
Afternoon light. This place is b…
Afternoon light.
Afternoon light.
Afternoon dynamic clouds!
Afternoon dynamic clouds!
Alpacas are cool.
Alpacas are cool.
Natural Machu Picchu fertilizer.  …
Natural Machu Picchu fertilizer. …
Huayna Picchu in the afternoon.
Huayna Picchu in the afternoon.
Alpacas own Machu Picchu.
Alpacas own Machu Picchu.
Alpaca butts are cool too.
Alpaca butts are cool too.
Machu Picchu doorways
Machu Picchu doorways
Ruin window.
Ruin window.
Flower window.
Flower window.
More windows.
More windows.
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz