Entries from 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
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.
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
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.
July 19, 2019
Posted by: Mike King
Today we had a long day out of the Salkantay Valley and into the Inca Trail. We enjoyed our first sunny weather and warmed up as we descended into the archeological site of Paucarcancha. Our horseman left us at Wayllabamba and our porter team loaded up the supplies and took off in a healthy jog to show off how fit they are. We spent the next three hours hiking into a more dense forest and dogging the rain showers that have followed us since day one. We got into some Incan stairs and rocky trail. The Team is doing well and enjoying some rest in their tents. The trip has been amazing and we are all looking forward to the next few days as we get closer to Machu Picchu.
July 18, 2019
Posted by: Mike King
Thursday, July 18, 2019
The skies cleared last night after dinner and we got a nice moonlit view of Salkantay. Well fed and feeling the cold in our toes we turned in for the night after a long day. The snow started about 3:00 am and left a thin white blanket on our camp and trail to Incachiriaska Pass. The Team did well with the altitude and the trail was in great shape with a little snow and moisture. While at the pass the low clouds lifted to provide a spectacular view of Humantay, Salkantay and a few peaks to the North.
We walked in the rain and sleet to our lunch spot and continued after lunch in a nice dry breeze. Our wet rain gear dried out and we enjoyed a nice walk down valley into the small subsistence village of Pampachuana located at 13,120’. The Team is doing great and has really enjoyed the solitude of this trip so far. We are tucked into our tents to avoid the current squall of rain. We are warm, dry and happy.
July 17, 2019
Posted by: Mike King
We left Cusco at 5 am and headed for the small village if Mollepata. Our drive took us down a spectacular winding highway from the high Andean steppe into a heavily forested valley. With rain hitting the windshield we could see fresh snow up around 18,000’ when the clouds would break. Once our shuttle arrived at Soraypampa we ate a light breakfast and began hiking. The day was a mix of sun, wind, rain, snow and a little bit of “just right”. The Team got to use all their layers today and we didn’t envy the less prepared “backpackers” who had ponchos and jeans on.
We are having a great time and enjoyed some views of Nevado Salkantay 20,452’ until the weather rolled in. The hike follows a narrowing valley and eventually parallels an enormous glacial moraine. The good eating has already begun, trout, rice and potato soup for lunch; we get spoiled on these programs. Our local staff and horseman are extremely nice and hardworking. Thanks for following along. We will check in tomorrow after going over the 16,000’ Incachiriaska Pass.
Miss you all and am thinking of you! I went to the doctor today - my wrist is fine, but I have a raging respiratory infection. Spent the day in bed with meds! I made the right decision to stay behind - I’m coughing like a 2-pack a day smoker!
Posted by: Dori on 7/18/2019 at 8:13 pm
Keep up the good work!!
It must have been Chad wearing jeans:)
Posted by: Eddie Leonard on 7/17/2019 at 7:29 pm
July 16, 2019
Posted by: Mike King
The Machu Picchu Trekking Team arrived in Cusco a few days ago with all their luggage in tow. Since we are currently at 11,151’ there are a few acclimatization days planned into the schedule. Yesterday we toured the Sacred Valley that is carved from the Urabamba River and contains many agricultural and cultural areas vital to the Quechua people of this area.
We got our first look at the impressive Incan stone work and a brief walk on a trail similar to what we will walk on over the next week. Following the great interpretative tour at Ollantaytambo we were fortunate to observe a local celebration and parade in Pisac Market. There were small groups of families and friends in colorful costumes and dress. Each group had their own music and choreographed dance, it was something else.
Today we will visit a few more Incan sites and the temple of the sun before getting our gear ready for the trek. Everyone is doing well and adjusting to the dry air and high altitude. We are eager to begin walking towards Machu Picchu.
RMI Guide Mike King