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Entries from Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu: King & Team Complete Trek, Arrive at Machu Picchu

We had an early wake up this morning at Winay Wayna so our Porters could catch an early train home after their impressive work the last 3 days. We let camp clear of the other trekking groups and began our hike to the Sun Gate at the top of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary around 5:45 am. Overcast skies kept the early day cool and as the team descended into Machu Picchu  taking in the stellar vantage point. Since the pandemic, the way people are routed through the site has allowed for less crowding and more time in the different points of interest. We got some sun to make the pictures pop and provide context to the intricate terracing that makes this site so unique. Our Peruvian guides Marco & Jaime gave a nice 2 hour tour and history lesson. We are at the hotel in Aquas Calientes for some R&R. Tomorrow we'll return to Machu Picchu for some more wandering around and possibly a hike up Huyna Picchu depending on the weather and how people's leg/feet are feeling. Regardless, it will be a nice morning to wrap up this trek before catching a train back to Cusco.

Thanks for checking in. 

RMI Guide Mike King

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Awesome Mike!!!

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 8/16/2022 at 6:34 pm

Machu Picchu: King & Team Trek Closer to Machu Picchu

Monday, August 15, 2022 - 3:25 am PT

Up, up and away! Right out of camp we immediately climbed several sections of steep Inca steps. Layers were quickly shed at our first stop of the day, Runkurakay, about half way up to the 13,000 foot pass. This site was a beautiful outpost thought to be a check point for pilgrims along the Inca trail. After a brief history lesson here we continued to climb until we hit the top of the pass. Here we were rewarded with world class views of tall glaciated peaks, soaring granite towers and deep rainforest river valleys. Then it was down, down, down. The rest of the day was spent descending from our high point. Our transition from the dry alpine zone into the cloud forest was equally impressive. We passed through lush jungle and dozens of orchids, admiring the stunning colors. We also had several stops at historic Inca sites on our descent. Each one becoming more elaborate and impressive as we got closer to Machu Picchu. The two biggest sites were right next to camp, Intipata and Wiñaywayna. These sites had numerous large terraces, complex drainage systems, and housing complexes. Our excitement was growing knowing the greatest of the Inca sites was yet to come, Machu Picchu! Tonight we go to bed extra early since we’re planning to get an alpine start to beat the crowds.


RMI Guides Mike King, Jack Delaney and the team

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Machu Picchu: Team Spends First Day on Inca Trail!

Buenas noches señors y señoritas! 

We awoke early to begin our first day on the official Inca trail! We had 4,000 feet to climb and the majority of it was on 600+ year old Inca stone steps.

The day started out along a babbling stream wandering up through a lush and wild jungle. We were even lucky enough to spot a sapphire hummingbird along our trek. Halfway through our grueling climb, we popped out above the tree line to enjoy a tasty lunch and beautiful views of the valley below. The final climb uphill was done slowly, since the top of Warmiwañusca pass was at 13,779 feet! Here, we enjoyed a well-deserved break before beginning our 2,000’ descent to camp at Pacaymayo. Thankfully, the views were spectacular and there were many colorful wildflowers along the trail to help distract us from the large and steep steps. We slowly and safely made our way down to camp where we enjoyed popcorn, chips, and guacamole for our afternoon snack! The guides claim dinner was “puma meat” but no matter what it was, it was delicious!

We’re headed to bed early tonight because we have another big day full of Inca stone steps ahead of us tomorrow!

Mike, Jack and the team

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Machu Picchu: Team Hikes to Wayllabamba

We are checking in from the village of Wayllabamba, the intersection of the Salkantay trek and the Inca Trail. Our hike descended from 12,598’ to 9840’. The warm temperature is what was most notable, along with cactus and pine trees that dominate this lush farming community when compared to the high-altitude substance farms of the last 2 days. The team enjoyed the roaring Rio Kusichaka as it carved out a deep canyon that paralleled our trail. We visited our first Incan site on the trek and got to see how the Incas set up citadels to observe 2 massive Andean valleys. The shorter day sets us up for 2 long days into Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. Apparently new regulations kept us from camping at Llulluchapampa, our normal day 3 camp. Regardless, we have tents set up on some nice grass, warm showers, cold drinks and good company.

Thanks for following along,

RMI Guides Mike King, Jack Delaney & Team

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Machu Picchu: Team Hikes to Pampacahuna

We got an early start this morning after a good night’s rest. The views of Salkantay were spectacular. Avalanche debris running from high on the 20,000’ peak made for a scenic but challenging first 2 hours of the day. A top Incachiriasca pass the team took in the views of surrounding valleys, some scattered with boulders and glacial moraines, others with dry grass and streams. The altitude began to ease as we descend towards our camp. Meandering cattle trails and soft grass turf made for a leisurely hike into our lunch stop. The Peruvian team spoiled us again with a 3-course lunch, the avocado and quinoa soup being favorites. Some of the team enjoyed a post lunch nap in the warm sun while others took in the views.

Rain is hitting the tents now as the team turns in for some well-deserved rest. We end the Salkantay trail tomorrow and join the more traveled Inca Trail.

Thanks for checking in.

RMI Guides Mike King, Jack Delaney & Team

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Machu Picchu: Team Trek into Soraypampa and Sleep High

 We awoke hours before the sun was up to begin our journey to the start of the Salkantay trek. Hours of winding Peruvian roads and a beautiful sunrise later, we arrived!

Our local guides and cooks made us a fantastic breakfast to start our trek off right. The first part of the trek began with a gradual uphill that gave us phenomenal views of the valley below. We followed an impressive trail alongside an aqueduct for several miles until we got to the town of Soraypampa. Here, we enjoyed the last porcelain throne that we would see for several days. Leaving town, we headed up a valley with soaring views of both, Tucarhuay and Salkantay peaks! The gradual ascent up the valley was difficult but rewarding as the beauty around us only increased as we got higher. Camp was graciously already set up for us by our guides and their assistants. We enjoyed a great dinner, drank cocoa, tea, and did our best to adjust to our new altitude of 14,300 feet. It was the highest most of us had ever slept, and it looked to be a cold night. Thankfully the cooks made us all wawa's (bladders of hot water) for bedtime!

Goodnight from the Andes!

Mike, Jack, and the team

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Machu Picchu: King, Delaney & Team Arrive in Cusco, Peru

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 - 6:00 pm PT

Greetings from south of the equator! Sorry for the delayed dispatch but life down here moves at a different pace and we've been enjoying it. The last few days have actually been a whirlwind of cultural sites, colorful markets and adorable fluffy alpacas. After the team flew into Cusco we got dinner and went to bed early to recover from the long travel day down to Peru.

The next day we met our local guides Chris and Javier. We went and explored the Sacred Valley outside of Cusco visiting the amazing Pisac Market and enjoyed some delicioso traditional empanadas. The second half of the day was spent wandering the ancient Inca site of Ollantaytambo. The size and perfection of the stone walls were hard to comprehend even when standing right in front of them! Some of the most impressive stone masonry the world has ever seen!

Today we continued to immerse ourselves in Incan culture by visiting the Qorikancha. This Inca temple of the sun was partially destroyed and a Spanish church built on top of it. Next we drove up to see the lovely Saqsawaman! Yes it's pronounced like it looks. This site has the largest stones of any Inca site, with one that is estimated to weigh 122 tons! The next stop was a traditional weaving market that had all 4 types of Andean camels, llama, alpaca, vicuña, and guanaco! They were adorable, very soft to pet and their wool makes beautiful garments. The final stop was the Catedral del Cusco, it was full of baroque style art and decorations. 

Tonight we pack for the beginning of the Salkantay Trek that we will begin at 4am tomorrow! It's a long drive to the start of the hike but spirits are high and we can't wait to get on the trail!

Buenas noches!

RMI Guides Mike King, Jack Delaney and the team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hey Mike! Best of luck and have fun!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 8/10/2022 at 10:20 am

Machu Picchu: Trek & Team Watch the Sun Rise from the Sun Gate and Explore Machu Picchu

We got up today at 3:30am, this put us in the Sun gate for the sunrise over Machu Picchu and we got a great view. There’s something about seeing glaciers from a high jungle ridge and taking in the most complex stone structures built onto the side of mountainous terrain that’s put the last 5 days into perspective. The steep step section named the “gringo killer” didn’t slow this team of gringos down. Our group has adapted from cold and wet to hot and humid conditions exceptionally well. While this is a hiking trip, the mileage, consistent high altitude, and awkwardly placed stone steps are not for the faint of heart. We toured Machu Picchu for a couple of hours and took in the amazing stone work and sheer size of this important cultural site for the Quechua people. As the crowds began to swell we decided that a beer, warm shower, and burger (that was the actual order) was well overdue so we headed for our hotel. Tomorrow we will take an early morning visit to Machu Picchu and a hike up Huayna Picchu before heading to the train and our return to Cusco. This has been a great trip through the Andes, while a little cold and wet at times we got unprecedented views of the glaciated peaks while hiking through scenic valleys and learning about one of the great civilizations and their impressive achievements. RMI Guide Mike King
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Machu Picchu: Trek & Team Enjoy Views from Phuyaupatamarca Pass

This morning we got out early ahead of the other groups and were rewarded with phenomenal 360 degree views of the lush converging valleys and glaciated peaks. Usually the clouds hang between the trail and these tall mountains due to our proximity to the cloud forest. As we wrapped up our time at Phuyupatamarca Pass, 12,130’ the clouds began to rise from the Urubamba River and the glaciers were hidden. The day was filled with great views, warming temperatures and elaborate ruins. In particular the terraces of Intipata and Winaywayna captured the groups attention due to the scale of such a project completed on the side of a steep and heavily vegetated mountain. We are all looking forward to walking into Machu Picchu at sunrise, getting a shower at the hotel is a close second. RMI Guide Mike King
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Hi Dori.  What a sport you are!  And it appears that you have an excellent leader.  I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip when you’re home.  You, Rhonda and I have a date August 7.  Enjoy the rest of your time in Peru!!

Posted by: Jessie Strauss on 7/24/2019 at 8:58 am

Hey Lara Lee.  Hope you are having fun!  Enjoy Machu Picchu tomorrow.  We love you!  Tell Louis, Bruce, and Paula we say hello.

Posted by: Brayden Wilkie on 7/21/2019 at 3:24 pm

Machu Picchu: King & Team to Chaquicocha

We got an early start this morning due to the two passes and 10,000 stone steps we needed to ascend. The first couple of hours took us to Warmi Huanusca Pass at 13,760’ where we got some great pictures of the mountain with fresh snow and receding pocket glaciers. From there the Team got their fill of Incan stone steps as we descended 2000’ to our lunch site. Enjoying the most sunshine we have had all trip, the group took some cat naps and enjoyed the lush forest that fills the Pacaymayo Valley. Once we got up and over Runkurakay Pass at 13,022’ we got more randomly spaced stone steps and the scenery kept getting better. Our day wrapped up with a tour of Sayacmarca, the most elaborate of ruins we have seen yet. From getting snow, rain and chilly days we have walked into the cloud forest where birds are singing, noseeums are biting and the air is humid. The blooming flowers have been a pleasant surprise since it’s technically winter here. The group spotted a few Andean condors soaring above today. The trekking traffic has increased today as we draw closer to Machu Picchu and that’s ok, we got four days of solitude. Everyone is doing well and looking forward to tomorrow’s shorter hike and spectacular ruins. RMI Guide Mike King
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