The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu Travel Blog› entry 17 of 134 › view all entries
October 28th, 2009 – by: melsadventure
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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