Day Fifty Four to Seven (27th to 30th Oct) – Inca Jungle Trail & Machu Picchu

1 11 2010

This place has gone Inca mad…

Cuzco was the centre of the Inca civilization, stretching as far north as Ecuador, as far south as Chile, west to the pacific and east to the Amazon jungle. Therefore there are an abundant number of Inca ruins and paths to investigate on organized tours or by yourself in true backpacker style as Calum (Jen´s brother) did in the North. However, this doesn´t prevent thousands flocking on a daily basis to the Machu Picchu site and spending a significant amount of money and effort on what is essentially just a pile of stones. A lot of what can be seen now was rebuilt in the fifties and sixties and in the case of the windows done so incorrectly. Maybe I’m being a little cynical. It is to be fair a mighty impressive archeological ruin and the most important in the Americas.

As neither Jen nor I are the biggest walkers in the world, but are very active, reasonably fit and persuadable, we found ourselves signing up for the Inca Jungle Trail. This was a four day multi activity trip that loosely follows an Inca path.

Day 1 – We were taken by mini bus to the top of mount Abra Malaga (4,315 metres), where we cycled down the other side on mountain bikes. In the afternoon we went white water rafting at the bottom of the valley we had just cycled down.

Day 2 – A full days trekking (7am to 6pm) from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa with both our clothes and belongings for four days on my back, ten kilos! Did I really sign up for this? If so, why? Our route took us winding through the valleys and along parts of an Inca trail. The going got tough and a little treacherous at times, especially with that ruddy big backpack on my back!

Dinner was at a local restaurant in Santa Teresa, the food was barely passable but that wasn´t the problem. We had an uninvited guest in the form of a monkey with an itchy anus. He kept jumping up on the table and giving it a good scratch. That said, he had better table manners than those at Christmas dinner at Drayton Park!

Day 3 – More of the same really… But last February the massive floods in the area washed some of the Inca trails away, so it was a lot of walking over land slides.

Day 4 – Our fourth and final day started with a voluntary 4am start, where we made our way to the Machu Picchu check point at the foot of the mountain in order to start the unofficial race to the top. The purpose of the race is to decide who gets one of the four hundred tickets to climb Wayna Picchu. This mountain which is in the background of the picture postcard shots of Machu Picchu has some of the best views of Machu Picchu and surrounding area. Our group of nine started at about fiftieth from the Machu Picchu check point, and when the gates opened we set off like the possessed. I don´t remember much, but I know no one passed me. When I reached the top of the supposed 45-60 minute climb after 29 minutes I had finished first. My prize, a thumbs up from the official at the top. That and bragging rights… Jen made it up in a very respectable fifth.

Machu Picchu ruins themselves were extremely rewarding and definitely worth the previous days efforts to get here. In typical Machu Picchu style we had poor weather in the early morning, but come 10am the cloud cleared and we had brilliant sunshine and blue skies. After our two hour guided tour of the ruins we were free to climb the privileged Wayna Picchu, we were also told to do so carefully as eight people have died doing so. We ended the day with a train and mini bus back to Cuzco .




2 responses

13 11 2010

Come on Jez, stop teasiong us and lets see some more topless pictures of you

4 12 2010

You’ll see it in the flesh when we meet in Oz…

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