We opted for the 4-day Classic Inca Trail hike. All hikers are required to be guided by a professional company. We chose to hike with Condor Travel and Paul. Paul gave us the advice of not focusing on the destination, but to instead enjoy the journey. He couldn't have been more right. I can't give a higher recommendation to both Paul and the company. Paul was friendly, knowledgeable, patient, funny and spoke very good English.
We followed the same itinerary shown in the picture above, even though yours truly didn't make the picture above....that credit goes to Adventure Life.
Day 1(7.5mi) started out early with a long van ride from Cusco to KM 82, where the Inca Trail begins. At KM 82 the porters packed and weighed our bags that they would be carrying and we all got through the first check station. Only 500 people are allowed on the Inca Trial per day, 200 hikers and 300 porters and guides. We did have a short stop in Ollantaytambo for any last minute things you might need such as a second breakfast, toilets that flush and a 15 soles aluminum walking stick. All of which I highly recommend. After going down in elevation and back up slightly which helps hikers acclimate to the elevation and seeing several Incan ruins sights we stopped for the night in Wayllabamba at 9840 feet. Wayllabamba has a fish hatchery that was built by the government for the locals. Nearly all of the touring companies purchase fish raised in the hatchery for dinner on the first night.
|Porters packing at KM 82|
|Let's get this party started|
|The official start of the Inca Trail|
Day 2(9.5mi) was advertised to be the hardest day of the trek due to the elevation gain going to Dead Woman Pass also known as Abra de Huarmihuañusca, topping out at 13,780 feet. It took us about 5 hours to summit. We hiked through very hot sun to be greeted by cold, windy conditions at the top of the pass.....and a sandwich. I love our porters! Paul led us up the mountain slow and steady and I didn't really struggle with the altitude. I had much more problems coming down the millions of stone steps. Did I mention buy that sissy walking stick in Ollantaytambo? Just do it, your knees will thank you. Trust me. We ended our day at Pacamayo (11,900 feet).
|Our group, ready to tackle Dead Woman Pass|
|Almost to the top with a view of Mt. Veronica in the background|
|Highest point on the Inca Trail, Dead Woman Pass|
|Waking up to the Inca Trail|
|Buy the sissy walking stick....you're welcome.|
|Second Pass, Runkuracay|
|Winyawayna Inca Ruins, overlooking the Urubamba River|
Machu Picchu means "old peak" in Quechua. Historians don't know for sure, but believe that Machu Picchu was an estate built for the Inca Emperor, Pachacuti around 1450. It was abandoned around 1572 as a result of smallpox and the Spanish Conquest. The Spanish never found Machu Picchu so it was preserved.
|Sun Gate with Machu Picchu in the sunny background|
|Made it! and we have sunny Machu Picchu pictures, mission accomplished.|
|My dream picture....remember to take these on your phone for Facebook and your camera so its good enough for everything else. Yep, I'm that girl that has only the low resolution cell phone picture.|
|8 am celebratory beers before the official Machu Picchu tour|
My highest recommendation goes to hiking the Inca Trail. It was the experience of a lifetime and it couldn't have been more perfect. Condor Travel, Paul and our Porters were amazing! The Inca Trail was amazing!
|Condor's team of hikers, porters and guides|
|Cheers to our team! Pisco Sours in Aguas Calientes|