Peruvian trip stories - Walking the Inca Trail to Machu PicchuApr 21, 2022
Peru Stories - Walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The much-awaited day dawned super early, 3.30 a.m. up and showered, grabbed a breakfast bag from the kitchen, oh the food they deliver each day is so tasty, and I’m in the line for the minibus for 4.30 a.m.
I get my packed lunch too from the trip organiser and pack it, my breakfast, water, and overnight clothes firmly into my backpack. It's all a bit tight!
Hopefully, three liters of water is enough for the 8-hour hike!
We set off in the dark, through the village over the bridge, and off to where we catch the train to Machu Picchu.
It’s an excited bunch who exit the minibus, one of our party treats us all to a plastic mask that we have to wear over our double nose mask to get on the train to Machu Picchu.
It’s rather painful and it is the current rule if we want to get to Machu Picchu. We also have to show our negative virus test result from yesterdays testing and we are all on board for the train.
The train is clean and the views to my left are spectacular, the rail line runs the river route and the river is in powerful flow today, the waters are dark brown and much of the way it’s flowing over rocks and looks very exciting to navigate in a raft. On this occasion, I’m happy to be on a train looking at it.
We trundle along for a while and I notice trains going the other way have locals, all visor and mask free, it’s just us tourists all covered up!
The train guards keep an eye on us and ensure no drink, food, or mask removal goes on.
The journey through the mountains is a delight and the scenery keeps my mind off the lack of oxygen through all the layers
We eventually pull to a halt by a bridge that spans the fast-flowing river, our party and another get off the train and it then continues into Machu Picchu.
We walk down the steps onto the bridge and take a moment for pictures and videos of the river and us on the bridge.
I drop my visor and it tumbles down the bank, the light and agile yoga teacher rescues it for me and my roommate stashes it in my backpack for me; thank you guys 🙏
We crossed the bridge and feel the power of the river thundering beneath us, you definitely wouldn’t want to fall in.
A few stone, mossy steps up and we enter a checkpoint, we show passports and our guides sort out tickets and we are on the Inca Trail.
A pit stop for a loo break ( only 1 per sex here and last loo until nearly Machu Picchu ) and we open our breakfast bags to a sandwich and fruits.
And after refreshments and loo we set off as one on the trail, we stop a short way and offer coca leaves to the Mountain Gods, to allow us safe passage to Machu Picchu
We do that in the stone ruins just off the track and we set off on our long hike.
The pace is steady and we climb up and up and up, stopping for a breather and water on a regular basis.
The climb has amazing views and you can see far below us the Milky Way River that the train was following and we recently crossed.
The airs thin and often each step requires a large breath, we start to see the fittest and younger ones move ahead of us, and we all catch up at the next rest spot.
I’m drinking through my water however I think 3 liters is going to be enough, the Kendall Mint cakes giving me a sugary boost to keep moving along well and I’m finding my pace now with some ease and trusting my steps.
The drop to my right is a steep one and it gives a magnificent view of the river far below, we found a corner and can see a dam far below.
Our guide starts singing and I feel an urge to connect Reiki wise to mountains and river and feel my throat start to chant along with our guide singing and we enjoy a moment chanting together
And I sent healing ❤️🩹 from Peru to my sister who is in hospital with kidney issues; I imagine water flowing from the Milky Way river to her and restoring her kidney functions fully.
A lady who became named, Hummingbird stands behind us as we chant and holds a divine space.
We then continue our climb, my back soaked from the effort and it’s soaked into my pack too.
The sun is hot today and thankfully there is a breeze keeping the temperature down a little, we walk past a waterfall that makes the air very refreshing.
We are climbing still and 2 hours in are nearing a high point. We rest up some more and refresh ourselves.
We have the promise of a midway point and a beautiful ruin to visit.
After more climbing, we eventually reach the ruin and you can feel the history in the stones and imagine the ancients working the terraced land of this very steep mountainside.
Hummingbird is standing at the top of a final section of steep steps and as I climb up she looks like a Goddess standing there awaiting her tribe, to bless them, out of pure exhilaration of getting to the top of this steep mountain and having a chance to rest, I act out as if I am pilgrim that has traveled far to lay at the feet of my Goddess and receive her blessing, and Goddess Hummingbird blessed me :)
We all sit in a semi-circle, backs to the ancient walls, with windows overlooking the vast drop and mountains beyond, and take part in a ritual to thank Pachamama, for safe passage and to bless her and the ground. Our guides are very Spiritual and it adds a beautiful layer to this amazing experience.
After a well-earned rest, we set off again, stretching our stiff legs and walking with an earnest stride in the knowledge that we will be seeing Machu Picchu this afternoon and the stop after next will be for a lunch break.
We walk up some more and then it levels out some and we walk along the side of this powerful mountainside, ahead are some more stone steps and a sign showing our elevation, I push up those steps and come to a level area that looks out across the vast valley, we rest here for a while and let all catch up, as the next part is up again and up some steep stone steps, that look a challenge.
We rest and enjoy the gorgeous view, I have to keep reminding myself it's real, not some painting, my mind has not seen such vastness, and I am constantly in awe of the beauty of the surroundings.
Rested, we set off again and it is a steep set of steps, I end up on all fours to clamber up.
More climbing and more hiking carefully along stone littered paths we eventually reach civilisation, and loos for those that haven’t seated it all out! and we stop and have our packed lunches, food never tastes so great or felt so well-deserved.
We eat and rest awhile and then collect everyone together and set off again, this time we are heading downwards, and rather than being heart-thumping, lung-bursting exercise, it turns into ankle twisting and knee knackering, as we go downhill over steep and stony ground, often with section covered in slimy and slippery mosses. I’m so thankful it's been dry so far.
Not long after that, it does start to drizzle a little and then some heavy steady rain, though it’s a short burst and the sun soon clears the clouds away and the heat rises.
My feet are starting to complain at the constant battering by the hard stones beneath them and my knees and thighs are screaming at me that enough is enough.
I’m getting weary now and only the thought of seeing Machu Picchu in this glorious sunshine keeps me stepping each foot in front of the other, I’ve slipped many times now of the slick rocks, each time my balance rigging before I fall over, and I am trusting my body and its abilities more and more as we descend down the mountain.
There have been moments a many where I’ve thought hard about where my next step is because if it's wrong I’ll be tumbling down a very steep mountainside. And each time I trust and we descend faster and faster.
And then the moment arrives, I’m now walking with two of the ladies in the party, we’re moving at the same pace, being overtaken and then overtaking, as she stops to take pictures, the lithe yoga teacher. We get to the final steps that lead us into Machu Picchu.
The anticipation is strong and my energy runs high now as I know the next set of steps and I’m there onto the view of Machu Picchu. Our guide leads us up a slope and we walk onto the instagram-image viewpoint and stand looking in wonder at this city, nestled in the steep mountainside. It looks mostly intact and if you knew how to do some roofing you’d have a city ready to live in.
It’s a magnificent sight after the long hike and I think because of the hike it’s more impressive than if you trained it all the way.
We take LOTS of pictures and take turns standing on the point everyone wants a picture of themselves from.
We hang about a while, as we have the place almost to ourselves, as it's late in the day and the day tourists have gone back to their hotels.
With reluctance, we head down to the exit and queue for our coach, so glad we don’t have to walk down the mountain to the village for dinner and a bed.
The trip down the mountainside is great fun, it twists around sharp bends, snaking down into the village below, half an hour later we are in town, we walk to our hotel, crossing over the train line that runs down the main street, up some slopes and into our hotel, a quick change out of sweaty socks, and clothes, a wash, clothes change and we are all out again into town and head off for a meal in a local pub.
And then to bed for a good sleep.
We are up early for breakfast and I fill my belly full and drink lots of the delicious fresh fruit juice, and then we get our Machu Picchu and coach ticket from our guides, queue in the street for the coach, and get our passports stamped with ‘Machu Picchu’, 30 minutes later we are back in the car park and follow our guides into Machu Picchu. The first parts more steps and the legs and lungs remember yesterday and complain a little.
We spend the next 4 hours exploring the ruins with our guides, they impart such delicious knowledge and the time flies by so fast, we stop for many more photo opportunities and have a group photo taken.
I stand facing the four directions and connect to Machu Picchu and Pachamama and run through a Shamanic ritual to connect to 6 ways and start to call in the local energy and it's so strong, midway my roommate grabs my ankle and sends healing energy into my left foot while I send more healing energy to my sister's kidneys. There is an altar, that you cannot get to, as roped off that called to me to be standing on it, to really fully tap into the energy available, as it was, the energy was strong, earthy, and powerfully healing.
We walked around the site hearing about the Kings rooms, his portal to other realms and parts of the planet, some rocks held some powerful energies, and one set I felt the need to stand by and share my crystals energy, and as if in confirmation of the exchange, a little Dragon ( lizard ) scurried up the rock and stood atop it looking down at me and then off to the high point and the entrance gate that we came through yesterday as we came down onto Machu Picchu.
Near the end of our 4-hour tour we stopped to share as a group our feelings and affirmations and wishes for the future. It was a touching moment to hear everyone share from their heart.
The day drew to an end and we had to leave the magical place, I know I’ll be back.
Another coach journey down the hairpin bends and then onto the train and the reverse journey of yesterday back to Cusco and the sacred valley and home to our retreat, for food and a good rest.