The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Team Washi at the start of the Inca Trail
What´s required to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
1.  A 5 kilo duffle bag to put a change of clothes and as many thermals as you can possibly stuff in
2.  More Mitcham than anyone thought possible
3.  A pair of fabulous walking trousers, preferably borrowed from a glamorous friend
4.  Walking boots
5.  More coca tea than is probably legal
6.  An Inca Trail playlist including gems such as "Can you Feel It" by Michael Jackson and "Another One Bites the Dust" - Queen
7.  Sheer determination
8.  A guide called Washi
9.
The porters preparing for us
  A team including Michelle, Robbie and Jen
10. 2 porters to every person to carry camping equipment, food, gas burners etc

Team Washi left for the Inca Trail early on Weds 28th October with clean clothes, clean bodies and a sense of adventure.  Although to say there was no sense of nervousness would be unfair.  Trekking the classic Inca trail is no mean feat, having a pass known as "Dead Womens Pass" to cross at 4,200masl and more steps to climb than you ever thought possible is a pretty daunting task.  We set off from KM82 and started to make our way along the Sacred River towards our first camp site.  We had a 4 hour hike the first day amongst magestic mountains and passed two Inca ruins, which were remains of hostal towns set up for travellers to rest in.
Our first camp site
  The walk was lovely and we made it to Hatunchacha for popcorn and coca tea and to find our tents already put up and ready for us.  The Veronica mountains were in the background and looked really eerie as the clouds slowly creeped in across them as night set in.  I saw my first clear night sky and also saw a shooting star! It made up for the stinky toilet!  After a dinner that seemed to come from a cordon bleu kitchen rather than a gas stove we had an early night  to prepare for the 2nd day, the toughest day on the trail.

Waking up the next morning at 2,900m was a pretty awesome sight.  The mountains were still cloaked in mist when we had our first "Tent Service" of coca tea and hot water.  We started the trek at 6am with Dead Women´s pass a distant and menacing sight.
The whole team and our mascot dog!
  We had three "scheduled stops" and countless unscheduled stops to "admire the scenary".  In truth every step we took the views were more beautiful.  The mounatins are so spectacualr i can understand why the Incas and countless other people have considered them gods.  As we climbed higher we had our first glimpse of two people that would entertain, inspire and spur us on throughout our trek - Commando Man and Inca Trail Barbie.  The first was an Albino Latin American guy in full Brazilian Army uniform ready to Commando roll you at any moment, Chuck Norris might have had competition with this one.  Inca Trail Barbie was a blonde wippersnapper with the tiniest shorts and top on imaginable. Unfortunately we are unsure of Inca Trail Barbie´s final location although we´re sure that Commando man would have rescued her ice cold body from the top of the pass.


After our 2nd "scheduled stop" the Dead Woman´s pass was in full view as were the steps we had to climb.  Fortunately Michael Jackson was there to keep us going as were hundreds of other travellers of different ages and fitness making their way to the top.  Abra Warmiwanusku or Dead Womans Pass was finally reached at 11:30am by 4 tired hikers and our guide Washi who barely broke a sweat.  The sense of achievement is inexplicable.  We made our Apacheta´s (offerings) to the mountain gods to thank them for letting us pass and prayed for continued good weather and good humour.   After taking in the view we climbed down from 4,201masl to our campsite Pacaymayu at 3,500masl.  It quite literally took my breath away.  After hundreds of steps down i was thrilled to see lunch and the view over the Veronica Mountains.
Go team Washi at Tres Pieds, the first scheduled stop of day 2
  The next day we were to finally see Machu Picchu as we decided to trek through the third day so we could get to Machu Picchu early in the morning for our tour on Halloween and the chance to climb Wyna Picchu.

A 5am "tent service" call and we were up and out at 5:30 climbing to the second pass passing Runkurachy, another ruin and an altiplano lake.  Down again past two really impressive ruins which are said to have been the Inca´s holiday retreat.  It was at this stage that we entered the rainforest, the start of the Amazon and the scenary was beautiful.  Lush green forst covering mountains and valleys alike and the Inca Trail winding between it all.  We hiked through original Inca Tunnels and incredible paths to the third pass where we could see Machu Picchu mountain.
At the top of Dead Womans pass - Can you Feel it?!
  The view is usually covered by cloud but we had a perfectly clear view and it´s not just being at 3,650masl that took my breath away!

The next section involved walking down 3,000 steps and going down to 2,700masl.  It was the hardest part of the trail and really had all of us in a state by the time we reached Winawayna campsite for lunch.  We hadn´t showered for 3 days, had been up and walking for over 8 hours and our legs were shaking from the intensity of the steps.  Lunch was incredible though and picked us right up despite a group of annoying Americans who had started the trail at that point and would have been lunch had we not have been fed so well! The last two hours flew by and before i knew it i was stood at the bottom of the 50 steep "Gringo Killer" steps leading to the sun gate and the entrance to Machu Picchu.
Dead Women at Dead Woman´s pass
 

Nothing could have ever prepared me for the view when you finally come out at the sun gate and see Machu Picchu from above.  The tears started flowing, my bones ached, the Mitcham was still in action and i sat for about 25 mins in silence just taking in this magical place and the sense of achievement at being here.  I´ll never foget that feeling, that view or the magic in it all.  To think that a civillaisation years ago could build this city on top of a mountain surrounded by forests is just amazing.

We hiked all the way down taking in the view and the fact that we pretty much had the place to ourselves and decided to take the bus into Machu Picchu town to meet Elvis and the others and camp our last night in a restaurant on the strip.  Was lovely being reunited with them all and we made our way to Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) at 5am the following morning.
The incredible Machu Picchu ... the stuff of dreams
  Having seen it the day before in blazing sunshine it was really something to see it covered in mist and without Dani there to restrain me i took about 1GB worth of photos!!! Walking around was just incredible, the architecture and temples and construction of the place is amazing.  There are  no records of what happened here, but we know it was an important site because of the architecture of the place.  Most of what we have assumed is from experts who have spent years researching the place since it was refound by Hiram Bingham in the early 1900s. 

After our tour we decided that we hadn´t had enough of steps and hiking yet so Jenine, Andy, Matt, Robbie and I took on the challenge of climbing Wyna Picchu (Young Moauntin) an extra 300m to get a view above Machu Picchu.
Thank god there isn´t scratch and sniff! Smelly and smiling ... who wouldn´t with that view?!
  It was a gruelling climb after the previous days 11hour hike but i made it to the top and the view was pretty impressive.  Coming down was a bit more tricky as the steeps are impossibly styeep and narrow, thank god i stayed away from the Pisco the night before!

So team Washi made it to Machu Picchu dirty, aching, happy and privelleged to have seen such a sight.  Not sure that anything will ever compare to it.
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Team Washi at the start of the Inc…
Team Washi at the start of the In…
The porters preparing for us
The porters preparing for us
Our first camp site
Our first camp site
The whole team and our mascot dog!
The whole team and our mascot dog!
Go team Washi at Tres Pieds, the f…
Go team Washi at Tres Pieds, the …
At the top of Dead Womans pass - C…
At the top of Dead Womans pass - …
Dead Women at Dead Woman´s pass
Dead Women at Dead Woman´s pass
The incredible Machu Picchu ... th…
The incredible Machu Picchu ... t…
Thank god there isn´t scratch and…
Thank god there isn´t scratch an…
Worth waking up at 5am for ... i t…
Worth waking up at 5am for ... i …
At the top of the 2nd pass
At the top of the 2nd pass
Not a bad view ey?
Not a bad view ey?
Robbie climbing down some of the 3…
Robbie climbing down some of the …
The Gringo Killers
The Gringo Killers
The view that makes it all worth w…
The view that makes it all worth …
Tent service ... for the love of C…
Tent service ... for the love of …
Picture postcard
Picture postcard
Morning mist over Machu Picchu
Morning mist over Machu Picchu
The tower
The tower
Temple of Patchamama
Temple of Patchamama
The Condor Temple
The Condor Temple
Wyna Pichu ... because i wasn´t h…
Wyna Pichu ... because i wasn´t …
The view from the top was worth it…
The view from the top was worth i…
Our Master Chef!
Our Master Chef!
Commando man in his finest regalia!
Commando man in his finest regalia!
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz