Hiking to Machu Picchu on Day 4 of the Inca Trail
Today was the day, the last day of the Inca Trail. A bucket list item being crossed off. Knowing that we would see and experience Machu Picchu.
A 2:45am wake up call did dampen our spirits but as we drank tea, we gathered excitement. Along the Inca Trail, there is a campsite that everyone camps at before heading to Machu Picchu (about 500 people). Our guide made a point for us to be the first ones in line at the gate to enter the Machu Picchu area; hence our early morning.
The 5 of us headed towards the booth where they stamp your passport again (exiting the Inca Trail) and a gate that leads to the ruins. We arrive and 3:15am and are the first ones there! Then our guide informs us that the booth doesn’t open until 5:30am. So we got up and ready to wait for over 2 hours- talk about torture by excitement.
The line behind us starts to get longer and longer until people are laying/sitting everywhere. It felt good to be able to be the first ones into the park then.
5:30am rolls around and the person working the booth is late. They show up 10 minutes later to have forgotten their keys. Awesome.
Once we get through the gate- it is a full on sprint. It is an hour hike to the Sun Gate, which is where the first views of Machu Picchu are had. It is also the place that the sun shines through and hits Machu Picchu perfectly on the Summer and Winter solstices. Those two dates are the most important days in Inca culture which made standing in the Sun Gate even more special. I wish we would have been able to see that, but we were a 2 months early for the Summer solstice.
The hike from the campsite to the Sun Gate was rough because we essentially had to climb straight up again. Luckily our legs were used to this treatment. Below is a picture of the incline. Literal stairs.
That morning, it was foggy. Most mornings are foggy because of the location (Amazon Basin). The picture below is from the Sun Gate facing towards Machu Picchu… Can’t see much. From the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu is another hour hike. Our pace really picked up at this point.
Along the way, Eddie (our guide) tried to teach us things along the way- but the 4 of us were not having it and just wanted to arrive. Below is a picture of a sacrificial slab where the Incas would often sacrifice animals.
As we were approaching the final stretch, we begin to see tourists walking about. Here we are- looking ragged and carrying bags. In the elementary Spanish that I have, I heard one woman walk by us and say “Pobrecitos. Camino de Incas.” Which roughly translates to “Poor things, the Inca Trail.” Were we that obvious? 🙂
Finally. Machu Picchu. The clouds lifted and all was right with the world.
This was a honeymoon to remember. Tired, sore, and undoubtedly messy- we made it.. together. Such a good beginning to our marriage. Machu Picchu shook me to my core and it was experienced with my soulmate.
This is the face of a #1 dream being realized.
There are many more Machu Picchu pictures and stories to be featured in another post. Stay Tuned!