michelle and jacob arrived in cuzco the day we got back from puno. we took the evening to regroup and catch up while they acclimated to the altitude. the next day we headed out for aguas calientes and then on to machu picchu from there. we took a train into aguas calientes which was a pretty fun experience. the views were spectacular and we got a peek of the inca trail on our way in. we had one night in aguas calientes, so we visited and the hot springs there and took advantage of the crazy happy hour deals to have a few more pisco sours. the next morning we headed up to the ruins on a bus to meet our guide. once again, i think you’ll enjoy the photos more than my account. so, here is our morning at machu picchu…
we’re all trying to catch a little shade while we can. the direct sun was pretty intense there.
after our tour of the main attractions of the ruins, michelle, jacob, matt, bob and i climbed up the north facing peak of the area called huayna picchu. they had an age limit and a maximum of 400 people per day who were allowed to summit it. so, we left mark and helen to tour the ruins some more and find some shade. and we headed straight up for about an hour. needless to say, it was a strenuous climb for most of us. i think jacob could have climbed it in half the time we did. but, he was nice enough to keep our pace. the views all the way up were amazing and it was awesome to get to climb high above the ruins and look down on them. it was definitely my favorite part of the day and i felt very accomplished when we reached the top.
-an idea of our climb. it was pretty much stairs all the way
after we descended waynapicchu we checked in with bob’s dad and grandma and took one more (less intense) hike up the southern side to the sun gate. it is the last part of the inca trail that leads straight down into machu picchu. we wanted to make sure we got every possible view of the place in our day there. who knows if or when any of us will be back there. we all agreed it would have been a pretty incredible way to get your first view of the site after four intense days of hiking. but, we were also pretty happy we didn’t choose that route so that we’d have time and energy to do a few other things.
i think it’s safe to say we got a very full experience of machu picchu. after years and years of wanting to go there i am so happy that i’ve experienced it. the heavy tourism really didn’t take away any of it’s magnificence. and i would still recommend it to anyone who is thinking about trying it. the hiking was our favorite part because it added even more to the views and gave us a very full day of exploring the area.
more of our week with michelle and jacob to come…