4 days of excruciating bliss....
The mighty Inca Trail! Everyone talks about doing it one day, and you hopefully you will. It is a four-day trek through the Andes mountains in Peru. You begin from colonial town of Cusco, where it is wise to spend a couple days to acclimate before you begin the trek. There are many outfitters and options in doing your trek, so research a bit and choose best one for you re comfort, length, porters, food style etc... I have used United Mice over the years, and have always had great experiences for my clients and myself. http://www.unitedmice.com/ They have different options and prices of course, with a wealth of experience and passionate local guides. Backin the day, we did the trek in three days, now 4 seems to be the norm. I remember the second day being the most brutal, as it is all incline with a lot of steps. But when you reach the Sun Gate on the last day, you feel nothing but jubilation in seeing the ruins of Machu Picchu in the early morning. The trail has gotten crowded these days, and permits are required now to lessen the impact on the trail itself. Permits are given from March to December. The altitude rises to over 12,000 ft on the trail so take it slow, consume much water, and enjoy every moment! I shot this on a sectio of the trail with Velvia film and a f100 nikon camera; the days of film!!!
Lunch In The Clouds
High up in the Andes Mountains, along the Inca Trail. This is day 3 on the trail. It is almost 8 hours of hiking, but every step along the way is worth it. The first stop is Runkurakay, a structure that is more like an outpost. It has a commanding view of the valley below. After passing a ridge and forging ahead over stones laid by the Incas themselves, you come upon another fortress called Sayacmarca, which again looks over the valley below it. A well needed stop for lunch (shown above) marks the middle of the day, but it is far from over. After lunch, the first stop is Phuyupatamarca, or, "Cloud Level Town," and it doesn't take long to realize where the name came from. The clouds gently rool over and through the stone structure. And the last stop of the day is impressive indeed. Winay Wayna is a terraced town at a lower elevation, and has the final campsite nearby. Next stop, Machu Picchu in the morning. We hiked with Peru Treks, who were amazing. The guides were knowledgeable, the food was amazing, and the experiences unforgettable!
By Blake Burton
We were taking a break on day 2 of our 4-day trek to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail when we happened upon some grazing llamas. This one seems to be having a stare down with one of our hiking group members, who is clearly wearing a llama wool hat.
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