|View from my tent.
For 13 hikers we had 18 porters! Each porter carried a ridiculously heavy pack of 25 kilos. We, the hikers, barely carried anything aside from water and layers. It`s kind of hard to call it backpacking when you`re not carrying your own pack. Apparently, only about 6 years ago a law was passed which limited the amount of weight porters could carry. Up until then, some companies would weight each porter down with packs weighing upwards of 40 kilos!
|Toilet on the Inca Trail
|The group plus porters.
|My tentmate Jessica and I reading aloud :)
We explored various Incan ruins along the way to our second campsite which was more cloudy, chilly, and rainy. After another delicious meal, we were surprised with... hot toddies! Yes, I felt guilty that the porters had to carry in two bottles of run for us, but I must admit, it was pretty awesome. That night as we snuggled into bed, Jessica read aloud the Incan excerpts from "The Motorcycle Diaries" and we patted ourselves on the back for being such good little tourists.
|stone paved Inca Trail
|In front of Touching the Void moutain
DAY 4 - We were woken around 3am to pack our bags, eat breakfast, and hit the trail. Of course, we hiked about 5 minutes before hitting the checkpoint where we had to wait until Machu Picchu opened at 5am. And then we hit the trail again, walking through the dark jungle toward one of the wonders of the world. It was light when we reached the sun gate, but the sun had not yet drifted over the mountain. At first, Machu Picchu was covered in clouds, but as the sun began to shine on the ancient city, the clouds passed and we were awarded with breathtaking views.
I`ve wanted to see Machu Picchu since the 5th grade when I learned about its agricultural terraces and irrigation channels, and it did not disappoint. The place is magical. We took our time walking down from the sun gate toward the ruins admiring it from every angle. The cool thing about Machu Picchu is that it is the only Incan city (found so far) that was not destroyed by the Spanish when they arrived around 500 years ago. Therefore, the only damage to the city is from fault activity, jungle taking over, and looters. So basically, it`s in pretty good shape. Also, "Machu Picchu" isn`t its true name. Hiram Bingham, the archeologist, got confused when he asked the local Quechua people if there were any Incan ruins nearby. The Quechua people pointed and said there where ruins on the big mountain. "Machu Picchu" means "big mountain" in Quechua. Anyway, Fredy took us on an informative guided tour of the ruins and then we waited in line for tickts to hike Wiñay Picchu, the famous pointy mountain behind Machu Picchu.