Time for our hike to Machu Picchu….that didn’t end up in Machu Picchu! Started the day with a “quick” hike which was steep (there were so many steps that I lost count) and
straight up a mountain to some ruins where sacrifices were made. We put 3 coca leaves together and each of us made a wish. Then we headed onto a longer hike which was all uphill. The views were great, but I do advise getting into serious good shape months before you make this trek. For me, the trek was pretty boring because my group hiked together and I had to hike by myself. One is a lonely number 😦
We reached camp around lunch time and had a feast, then napped and played cards. The food was cooked by a chef that traveled with us and all the food was gourmet and plentiful. The night overall was good, the tent was warm, the sleeping bag was cozy, and the toilet was set up in its own little tent which was better than I expected.
The second day of the hike started with a 6am wake up. We were served coca tea at our tents. We packed up and had a great breakfast then hiked uphill again which was exhausting, then we had rolling hills after lunch and all downhill at the end of the day. The downhill was very steep – one of the many times I was happy I had my walking stick. We saw snow-capped mountains and played cards at lunch. The second day’s hike was slightly easier than the previous day. Along the way we saw random flowers, cows, chinchilla, horses, dogs, chickens and random children. We hiked through two mountain passes. The first one was 4500 meters high and the second was 3800 meters high.
Nighttime brought a clear sky so we were able to see the bright stars but I could only identify Orion’s Belt as usual. We were also able to see Victoria Mountain which was one of the 3 snow-capped mountains that we could see from our campsite. It was really pretty. Even though it was technically summer in Peru, nights were very chilly. I wore 3 shirts, 2 pants and extra warm socks and was still cold.
Day 3 of hiking – Camp to Quarry to Aguas Caliente:
Our last day of hiking started off at 6am again. We hiked to the quarry which I didn’t hike up because it was all rocks and straight uphill. We then hiked in the hot sun. Fortunately, it was an easy trail except for the fact that the tour leader let the group end up so far apart from each other that I basically hiked alone – even over a big rock jump and three unclear paths. At least the views were pretty. We ended at a small suspension bridge, then uphill again through a town where they left me behind again (seeing a pattern yet?).
Our last trek of the day was the train to Machu Picchu. The train provided good views and they even gave us a snack of banana chips and chocolate. We played cards during the 1.5 hour ride. After disembarking, we walked through a market, over other train tracks to our hotel. From the hotel, the river sounded very loud and strong. As expected, the town was very touristy – meant only to stay there for your tour to MP.