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South America 2016: Day 07 (Peru 07): Nov 28

3am! I didn’t actually make it down until 3:25ish, but there wasn’t anyone after our group yet anyways. We were the fourth or fifth group, we heard that the first group camped out there at 1am. It was only a minute or two down to the checkpoint, so a couple of people came back up to get their thrown away ponchos to sit on during the wait. And it got cold…. Not all of us were prepared for how cold it would get but somehow managed. 

I think I’ve avoided the topic, but it seems like the water wasn’t up to par for a lot of us and many got a stomach bug that led us all to the washroom. Not feeling so good. More than 50% of us were affected at different times of the trek. So we took all the banõs breaks that we could. 

Finally after waiting for 2 hours, and seeing the line grow and grow, the ranger came and the gate was opened! Group by group, we were released onto the trail. Nothing too crazy on the trail… It started out really cold and then the sun came out so so bright. Every one of us had to stop for a wardrobe change, haha, to remove a layer or two.

After several ups and downs and taking in the scenery, the worst climb, the “Gringo Killer” steep and narrow uphill steps. Oh man. A couple minutes after that, the sun gate! This whole part took about 1.5-2hrs. We spend some time taking pictures here and there with Machu Picchu in the not so distant background, we keep going. Our destination was about 30-45 minutes away. Go go go! We could already see some tourists walking around.

Finally reaching Machu Picchu, it’s definitely a sight to see. A lot of the original buildings and some restored. I could only imagine what it could look like if it was finished. We took some quick “postcard” pictures as a group and etc then we were led to the exit. At the exit, we got our passports stamped with the Machu Picchu stamp and we could finally visit a real porcelain banõs. Hahah. 

Then… Back into Machu Picchu for a guided tour from our Alpaca Expedition guides. There was so much information, I couldn’t begin to remember all of it. But, Mr Hiram Bingham was given credit for the discovery even though he was led there by locals and there were a few families living there. He definitely led a team to discover more about this lost city. 

We walked into several areas of machu picchu, the steep steps were painful after those 4 days. The Sun Temple, the guard house, the several terraces, some more temples… Full of history. José also showed us how they would split large rocks in order for them to place them as part of the walls. Chisel, wood, water. Chisel to make the gap, wood to fill it in, and water to expand the wood to split the rock. There was a quarry nearby that had a rock showing that exact example. 

Finishing up our first quick pass, a number of our group actually had another climb today! Huayna Picchu, a steep 45min up and 30 down. It even has ladders. I was going to do this one as well, but reviews called it very dangerous as some people had died while doing it… Anyways, the rest of us had free time to wander and then meet the group down in the Agua Caliente city around 1:30.

With the one entry ticket, you are allowed to enter 3 times. Mostly because any type of food and banõ are not allowed inside the site. It’s actually very easy to get trapped into a one way route to the exit. Which is how my second entry went. Boo. Went back in to visit the guard house and take in that view and then headed to the city. 

We all met at a certain restaurant that stored our duffle bags, had a bite, said our goodbyes, and some even made plans to travel again in the future. 

Checked into our hotel, a nice shower, a nice bed, oh so good. The 8 of us barely did anything aside from shower, rest, lay around. But we did go to dinner at 8, where we all shared the worst, best, funniest parts of the trek. A number of us agreed it was the downhill after the 4hr uphill, and then after the second uphill, seeing how far we had actually traveled by looking back at Dead Woman’s Pass from one of the ruins. What a sight. The worst? The diarrhea. Funniest for me, was when i got stuck cuddling a Llama. Haha. 

Great trek, great people, we did it! Waking up around 5:30 to go up there again once more, Machu Picchu Mountain. Whee. 

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