Machu Picchu Mornings
Today we got up at 4:45am for a 5am breakfast before heading to the bus that would take us up the mountain to Machu Picchu. As we drive up, fog covered everything and it slowly dispersed as the sun rose up above the peaks. It was absolutely breath taking! We had a guide who led us on a grand tour of the site, and everything was completely surreal. Looking over the mountains I could see how the Incas felt close to their trilogy there: puma (the mountain), concord (the sky), and serpent (the earth).
After a two hour tour, complete with photo ops and roaming llamas, we grabbed a snack before heading off to climb Huayna Picchu, which is the mountain you see behind most pictures of Machu Picchu. The hike to the top is supposed to take 1.5-1 hour as you trek up thousands of stairs to the old Incan site on top. We pushed through it with drill sergeant David leading the way in just 30 minutes! Lucky for us, thick rails and rope had been installed in recent years to help you pull yourself up the mountain in the places where the stairs were too steep, or nonexistent.
The outlook from the top was breath taking—we could see the valley, a tiny dot below, the river so far away it didn’t seem to be moving, and Machu Picchu, beautiful and sprawling below. It was so beautiful -- words don’t do it justice. Morgan and I decided to hike further to the Grand Cavern— an additional 3 hours according to the site, but which only took us 1.5 hours! The cavern itself was a little disappointing, but the views were absolutely gorgeous. We were the last ones admitted that day and we had the best time! Then we headed back to the streams to wash of the sweat caked all ver us, grabbed dinner, and caught our bus/train combo back to Cusco.