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We opted for the 2-day trek, which was shorter than the 4-day, but still got us onto the Inca Trail.  The first day we boarded the train from Cusco at 6:30am, and 4 hours later debarked at our starting point.  We climbed up to Winya Winay, over the pass to Machu Picchu, and down along the edge of MP to the town of Aguas Calientes below.  Day 2 we caught the 6:30am bus back up to MP where we spent the entire day traversing the terraces, climbing Huanya Picchu (the mountain behind MP), and eventually returning to Aguas Calientes to catch the evening train back to Cusco.  For the full story, see Chapter 116

Day 1


Ruben, Carin, Patrick, Jenny, Erin, Vince, Gabriela, Jackie
Juan, Chris, Chris, Rob, and Jesse

OK people, and, we're walking

That's good folks, we're still walking...

Photo-op / rest below Winya Winay

Wow, those were some steep steps!

Above Winya Winay.  Yes, Chris has a wad of Coca leaves in his cheek -- very attractive, but helps with altitude/energy


Our First Look

At the Sun Gate, our guide Ruben gives us the history of Machu Picchu

There it is:  View down from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu.  The road goes down to Aguas Calientes, 30 minutes below.

As we get closer, the skies turn grey and the rain does it's thing to keep the vegetation green.  Quite the styling outfit on Erin, eh?

At about 5:15pm the rain tapers off a bit, but the mist is quick to try and block our view of the city.  Tomorrow we will be back to walk through.



DAY 2 - Machu Picchu

7AM:  Ruben prepares us for the day

Machu Picchu

Quite a site!

Stone walls and thatched roofs

A beautiful city -- complete with Alpacas to mow the lawn

Blue Skies late in the day over Machu Picchu (and tourists pack the joint) -- Huanya Picchu is at the top of the mountain to the right


Around Machu Picchu

Terraces in the mist


View of the reconstructed houses

The walls of the temples and noble houses were made of rocks cut into exact shapes, filling all gaps, and without the use of mortar.  The more important the structure, the bigger/better the rocks.  The rock wall at the bottom right of the photo, along with the other homes were made of normal stone and mud for mortar

Two walls merge:  The the stones of wall to the left are cut more straight, meaning it belonged to a richer home or a temple.

Inner walls of a temple, with stones cut to precision.  Notice the difference to the walls of the home above.

Stonework:  The Incas utilized existing boulders which they carved and incorporated rocks cut into intricate shapes to fill and for support.

Looking down at the water system -- the water flows downward through channels cut into the rock (starting from bottom of photo).



Did someone say we would climb Huanya Picchu?

There it is, in the background

Ruben (guide) and Juan (asst. guide), resting atop Huanya Picchu with MP in the background

Look at her grinning happily after reaching the top of big mountain!

View down to the river from Huanya Picchu

Of course, getting back down was a bit of a challenge.

So long Machu Picchu, and thanks for the memories


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