The walk in the wee hours of darkness to the base of a mountain with my best friend was amazing!! We had vouchers for the hike up to Machu Picchu and were patiently waiting in line with our passports to cross the bridge. Upon arriving to the line there were several people waiting, which we did not expect. We should’ve assumed there be this many people since it’s such a popular spot in the world but we had no idea it would be like Disneyland. It was unreal. How many people were there at 4 AM getting ready to hike up several steps to the ruins of Machu Picchu.
The bridge over the river from Aguascalientes on the trail to Machu Picchu was very wide to appease the mini travelers, I am assuming. It was modern and well-built, and the signs at the end of the bridge to get up to Machu Picchu were very self-explanatory, which we appreciated. It was super dark so we decided we would take pictures of those signs on the way down, so they’ll be in a later blog. In this blog, I’ll talk to you about how dark it was, the need for headlamps, the mist coming over the mountains, and just the constant laughter of Chris and I while we hiked up trying to stay out of people‘s way who were hiking at a much faster pace.
The hike was super dark, and Chris and I were very fortunate that we brought our headlamps with us, as we did forget our tent poles. We packed everything for this trip, including our tent, then we forgot to bring the polls and we’re thankful to stay at all the youth hostels along the way. Luckily, however, we did have our headlamps, which we didn’t need for hiking up to Machu Picchu. As we hiked, we thought about our tour guide and how he had gone up on this hike several times. We wondered if this was why he decided to meet us at the top by taking the bus because his “knees weren’t what they used to be.” We were trying to ponder how many times he climbed these steps to Machu Picchu because we were only on a ten day tour with him and there are 365 days a year. We were also his last tour because of his age so he had to have done this trail many, many times. As we got higher and higher, the sun started to come out, and we were able to see the mist over the mountains, but the mountain still was a shadow like silhouette, black. It was surreal, beautiful, just an amazing experience all around for both Chris and I.
I think my favorite part about the hike was the constant image of seeing llamas when we got to the top. I really wanted to get pictures of llamas and just sit on the grassy knoll of Machu Picchu painting the ruins, while being around llamas. I was really hopeful that this would happen. Chris and I were crawling up the steps and felt like they were so high, almost up to our knees. We had to high-step, and he is six foot four and I am six foot one so us high-stepping is saying something. He was excited to see a part of the ruins where the steps were on the side of a cliff. They are known to just be rocks coming out of the rock and it is a very deadly trail on Wayna Picchu. We did not know this at the time and did not go all the way up to the top. I guess we are going to have to go back someday soon. For now, I will write more about Machu Picchu next week!
Have a happy weekend and stay safe…be careful if you do the “Stairs of Death.”