Machu Picchu

19Jul13

Yes, I’m still bragging about my trip to Peru.

So picture this: You’ve been hiking up and down mountains for the past 3 days/3 nights. You’re now accustomed to squatting behind shrubbery or a large rock to relieve yourself and find it preferable to the “facilities” at the campsites. You and your tentmate have bonded over the fact that it’s impossible to maintain a comfortable distance while changing in a 5′ x 7′ space. It’s Friday morning, you haven’t had a real shower since Monday night, but the “bathing wipes” from the backpacking store help you feel like you’ve done all you can to maintain an acceptable level of hygiene. You take solace in knowing that your group can’t judge you, because they’re in the same boat. A once-white, but now dirt-covered baseball cap is your best friend. You woke up at 3:45 in the morning and wondered how it’s possible to hike another 2 hours when you can’t feel your legs. But, you (wo)man up… because you know that today is the day that you’ve been waiting for. You’re finally going to see Machu Picchu. So, you start to move.

An hour later, you come up upon a small structure known as the Sun Gate. Adrenaline spikes. You walk (stumble) through. You’re slightly blinded because the sun is rising up over the mountains. And then… you see this:

And it's glorious.

And it’s glorious.

The myth and the legend

The myth and the legend

It’s as magical as you had heard it would be. Your eyes well up, but you’re not sure if it’s because of the sight, or because you’re so tired and delirious. You somehow remember that you’re holding a camera and are more grateful than ever that image stabilizers and auto-focus exist. You can’t capture your emotion, but you tell yourself that you better get a good fucking picture, because you worked your ass off to see this. After reveling in the moment and watching the sun finish its ascent over the mountain, you float into the ancient Inca wonderland.

Behold.

Behold.

Casa del Inka

Casa del Inka

Because you’re traveling with Mr. Adventurous, you also signed up (and paid) for an extra hike up Huayna Picchu – the mountain adjacent to the ruins. Half of the group bails, but you and 3 other friends muster up the energy to see the City of the Incas from as many angles as possible. This hike is way more narrow and steep than the Inca Trail, and your friend Sarah convinces you that she’s the best person to adopt Remy should anything happen to you. In your moment of weakness, she asks you to put that in your will. You agree.

Halfway up the mountain, you realize that the extra effort is paying off.

There she is!

There she is!

And once you reach the top, you’re extra happy that a) you’re not afraid of heights, and b) you’re so cheap that your desire to not waste a pre-paid ticket ended up leading you to a good decision to do the extra climb.

The whole shebang.

The whole shebang.

You came, you saw, you conquered. You cross Machu Picchu off the bucket list. And then… you shower.



One Response to “Machu Picchu”

  1. 1 Carol ellman

    You are both a talented writer as well as photographer. I think you should publish your journey!


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