Monday, August 31, 2009

Inca trail - 4 day trek to Machu Picchu!

The main reason why we came to Peru was to do the 4 day Inca trail trek into Machu Picchu. We booked with Peru Treks 4 months in advance. They were responsible and reasonably priced. We highly recommend them. So, here we go!

Day #1: Easy going

It was pretty tame starting at 5:45 am with about 4 hours on the bus and 6 hours of level hiking (12 km). We reached our campsite by 4 pm.

Shinae, me and Sharlene trekking along the beautiful scenery.

Even though the trail was booked to the max (250 trekkers plus porters), it didn't feel crowded. Often, we were the only ones in sight. We had great weather the entire trek!

Day #2: Up, up, up and down.
This day was the killer day. We awoke at 6 am and hiked from 7 am to 2:30 with an hour break. 12 km straight up and down.

At the top of Dead Woman's Pass (a major mountain peak). We made it, or did we?

Hooray! 4200 m!
We went up ~1,200 m from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, and it was at high altitude. Then another 1.5 hours down tortuous steps with NO bano (bathroom). That was mean.

Day #3: Ruins along the mountainside
This day was our favorite and longest hike. It was a relaxing 15 km from 7 am to 4. We passed several amazing hidden ruins, two minor passes and a lot of steps down.

View from our campsite.

A secluded mountainside ruin.

The end of Day 3.
We were exhausted from over 2,000 steps down this day.

Overall, The trail wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be, perhaps because I had heard so many stories and warnings beforehand. It wasn't exactly easy though.

Day #4: Machu Picchu at last!

We awoke at 3:30 am to do a mad 2 hour dash into Machu Picchu. I'm not really sure why we had to sprint into the ruins at this absurd hour. It's not like the ruins were going anywhere. But the other trekkers were viscious! Someone actually said, "Move out of my way or I'll punch you in the face." Another person asked, "Are you going to Machu Picchu?" No, I am going for a brisk stroll on this random mountainside at 5 am.

Peering down at Machu Picchu at sunrise from the sungate at about 6 am.
It was worth it to descend upon Machu Picchu at sunrise as clouds were rolling over the ruins.

We made it! Our awesome Peru Treks group.
Thanks guys for the support, great laughs and times!

Jumping for Machu Picchu!
5 takes at 7 am after a 2 hour hike and 4 day trek. Good times!

The llama refused to cooperate for a picture!

The restored walls of Machu Picchu.
Explorers accidentally stumbled upon this lost city last century.

Macchu Picchu in all its glory.

It really is that incredible. I think retracing the path that the Incas originally took to reach this city and learning the history made us appreciate these ruins much more. Also, our head guide, Freddy, imparted his love of the land on us.

Overall, the Inca Trail definitely met our expectations, and we had pretty high ones built up over the past years! Trekking these 45 km with my friends and a great group to Machu Picchu is something I'll definitely never forget!


Jan said...

I saw my RSS Feed that I hadn't checked in a while and was like, really, a new post? :) Part 2 was worth the wait! Alpaca vs. llama - good to know.

sharock said...

no bano! i forgot about that race on the last day. that's made me lol just now. i just remember people huffin' and puffin' past me and thinking boy you sure are having fun.