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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Mystical Machu Picchu

PERU | Sunday, 25 November 2007 | Views [2191]

"Buenas dias," call out our porters as they hurry us from our tents to the breakfast dining lodge. They're on a mission to get us up and out so they can haul ass down the rocky trail to make their 6:00 a.m. train. Half asleep we do our best to finish off porridge and pancakes and hit the trail by 5:30 a.m. for our two hour, 7K trek. We wait in line, with our 500 other trekking partners, and it's like the starting line for a marathon race, everyone jockeying for position. Some trekkers must have hauled it out of their tents at 4:00 a.m. this morning to be first in line at the police control point to be cleared through, and first on the trail. Onward we hike, around the last mountainside remaining between us and Machu Picchu. By 7:00 a.m. we are at Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, which is a series of large stone formations positioned scientifically for channeling the rays of the sun across the valley and into the Intihuatana, Hitching Post of the Sun, in the fortress of Machu Picchu. Depending on the season of the year, the sun light beams through the Sun Gate and hits the correct seasonal indicator in the temple.

Arriving at the Sun Gate is a breath taking sight. Across the valley we see the magnificent Inca structure of Machu Picchu, laid out like a condor on the steep slopes of the mountainside. It's about another hour trek down from the Sun Gate, and we stop every few minutes to gawk, gasp and take photos. We spend several hours with our trekking guides learning about the lost city and purposes of the various structures. We then decide to test our aching and weary bodies one last time, by making the hour ascent up the steep side of Huayna Picchu. This mountain is not for those fearful of heights. The path is narrow, dangerous and there are portions were we need to use metal pars and ropes along the side to hoist ourselves up. While the elevation and ascent is difficult, the most challenging part of the climb is looking off to the side of the mountain, where complete drop off cliffs give way into thin air. Once up near the top, we wonder how we will ever get down... but we do finally make it safely, but this activity assures us of more achy muscles and complete physical and mental exhaustion. We take quiet time to enjoy the special energy and air here in the remains of this incredible work of art. It's hard to describe, and pictures only tell half the story. Sitting in the midst of the ancient temple, we gaze out at the gigantic mountains surrounding this structure, wondering how they ever got these huge stones into position on the steep slopes. And the way each rock and structure was placed by the ancient Incas, all astronomically and scientifically aligned to tell time, season, and align with the constellations. A brilliant and highly evolved culture, erased by the Spaniards. It's a a powerful reminder to take the time to learn and appreciate those who come before us, and that ethnocentrism is not a winning approach.

We hop on the bus at the entrance of Machu Picchu, and take the 30 minute ride to Aguas Caliente where we all celebrate our big four day accomplishment and feast before boarding our five hour train ride back to Cusco. Along the way the train workers urge us to keep windows closed tight, as some of the areas we pass through are "muy peligroso" and thieves hang out on the train tracks with long sticks waiting to snag valuable from the overhead hanging bins as they thrust their sticks through the open windows, knocking cameras from tourists holding them for window shots. Tired and weary, we are thrilled to make it back to our guesthouse in Cusco with no plan or obligation to keep us from sleeping the next day away.

Tags: Adventures

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