23-26 June 2004
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The mystical four day hike on the original Inca Trail to the lost city of Macchu Pichu. Four days of torture amidst stunning mountains, scenery, and mysterious Inca ruins. It was glorious.
Day 1 - near the start we cross this checkpoint bridge onto the trail itself.
We climb up and up, spotting ruins in the distance. Our guide, Liliana, shows us where we are on the map. It was also raining, and so some people had to cover their packs with makeshift plastic sheets.
Day 2 - the toughest day of all with a torturous climb up stone steps for the first half of the day. In the third picture I've reached the highest point, Dead Woman's Pass, at 4198m.
In the first picture is one of the legendary porters, carrying a large amount of provisions on his back. And it is STILL raining.
Day 2's camp for the night. It was quite cool to be setting up camp in the mountains.
Day 3 dawns bright and clear, and we prepare to head off. The third day is the best, a rather relaxing hike through rather easy terrain, with many stops along the way to inspect interesting Inca ruins. Such as this one.
Another rest stop along the way to take in the mountains and scenery.
The Sayacmarca ruins.
A bit more hiking, a lunch break, and more ruins.
Check out the stunning views. We start to descend and climb down amongst an old Inca terrace, once used for planting crops. Some of us pose for a group shot with the setting sun glinting off the majestic snowcapped Andes in the background.
The final night at camp and we thank our cook and porters.
This is the meal tent.
Day 4 begins before the crack of dawn, and we wait in the dark to head off on our final assault on Macchu Pichu. By the time we get there, the sun begins to rise, and....there it is in all its glory. The lost city of Macchu Pichu. Everyone waits at the Sun Gate to take in the view of the peak of Huayna Picchu looking over the ruins itself. We start to descend to explore it.
We are now in the grounds of Macchu Pichu itself and take our time exploring it. There is some amazing architecture implemented here, way before its time. The llamas in the courtyard are obviously a recent addition.
Huayna Picchu - the main peak that looks over the site. As if I didn't have enough of climbing, I can't believe I scaled this peak as well. But it was worth it as I looked down on the site from the watchtower on top, where centuries ago sentries might have kept a watch out for approaching enemies.
We came down from the back of Huayna Picchu, and came across the Temple of the Moon, built under this huge rock.
A final look at Macchu Pichu as we depart the site.
© Jerome Chik 2005
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