Monday, April 6, 2009

A Walk Through the Andes: Part 4

Machu Picchu is hard to portray in words or photos. It is all encompassing and total in its beauty.

As we waited in line to enter, a feeling of accomplishment was settling in our minds. Four days of walking and climbing, sleeping with bugs hell bent on getting a meal from our flesh, and we were here at our final destination. With barely any sleep and set of clothes that smelled of showerless days, we pushed forward and ensured that we would be one of the 400 elite to attempt to climb Hauyna Picchu, a ruin just outside the city of Machu Picchu.

Upon entering, our group was pulled together at the base of Huayna Picchu to begin a tour of the ancient Incan City. Though the tour was in English, besides broken and sometimes inaccessible, it was hard to pay attention while taking in the visuals of the place we were walking around in. We were blessed to arrive at Macchu Picchu at the end of the storm that had been ailing us for the previous days. We had rain and uncomfortable conditions, and now, at our reason, we had weather that was meant for viewing such beauty.

Terraces ran the entire length of the city; timeless engineering that allowed a flat surface for countless crops to go safely and flourish. As llama's grazed in front of our eyes, it was easy to imaging Incan farmers harvesting their tomatoes, potatoes, or coca moving from one level to the next. The clear sky let the sun beat down on the giant old stones that were cut from the nearby mountain walls. So smooth and cut with precision and holding much of its old integrity. We carried on our journey following our Peruvian tour guide through the astronomical district, through the mall for meetings, and to the agricultural center and finished up where we started, at the base of Huayna Picchu.

From here, the journey up seemed to be another daunting, yet a necessary task to finish our voyage. With the sun at it's highest point and more stairs seeming like a ridiculous proposal, we thought of whether or not our tired bodies were even up to the task. We have come and seen Machu Picchu. That was the plan. To walk were the Incans had walked in mass; one of the wonders of the world. Huayna Picchu was not even noun we were aware of until this point in time. However, we had climbed and hiked all around the Andes mountains- biked through downpours, hiked on cliff edges and climbed up from Aguas Calientes in the dark to reach the base of one more challenge. So the choice was not one at all. We could not have come all this way to let yet another peak higher peer down on us in victory.

The ascent was an easy one. This path was safe guarded, fit for the masses. On the blank sides as well as the rock wall sat wire ropes to help with balance and footing. The trail was just as steep, but we moved up with vigor that could only be explained by a feeling of nearing completion. Our legs seemed to forget the strain of the last couple days, or the fact they have been working since the early hours. The trees broke every now again and through it Machu Picchu seemed farther and farther away. Each time, a new splendid view of the city. We lifted ourselves from step to step with an ease not yet met.

Upon reaching the peak of Huayna Picchu, we joined many other hikers, adventures, and tourists that came for the same stunning view of the mountains and Machu Picchu. Standing at the highest point, your mind has a hard time understand exactly what it is your seeing. Looking down at the large city, so high that the people walking it's paths along it's terraces disappear into dead pixels. From here we could see our four day walking adventure; through the clear skies we could see the rain we walked through- the wet socks, wet shoes, wet shoes and wet pants- and the path back down to find our next adventure.


  1. Wow...I am totally blown away!! I hope to make it out there with you Mel..I'll take the flesh-eating bugs and if you can tolerate my smell self, I'll tolerate yours! Love ya :)

  2. Anytime woman...ANYTIME!! ;)