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Kel and Rob’s Travel Diary

Friday, 27 Jan 2006

Location: Machu Picchu, Peru

MapAdmin: Hope you all had a great Australia day. Ours was spent admiring the views of Machu Picchu and then on a train back to Cusco with a bunch of kiwis singing "you all live in a convict colony" - we threw them into the ravine.

As we had a day to spare in Cusco, we headed on an afternoon city tour to take in some Inca ruins around the town. They were really impressive and we have put some photos on for you all to enjoy.

That evening, we had out pre trekking meeting with our tour guide (Henry) and the other 3 Inca Trail trekkers Emma (English), Rupert (Also English) and Megan (Canadian). After the meeting we headed back through the throng of hasslers (you want to eat here, you want finger puppet, you want post card, you bad person) and had an early night.

The next morning we rose at 5am to get the bus to the start of the Inca trail. After the compulsory stop for walking sticks, ponchos and coca lollies (neither of us can handle the coca leaves) we started the 49km trek.

Thinking we were both pretty fit after the other hikes on the trip we set a cracking pace (this was a fatal error and would haunt Kel later in the walk and also had Rob wishing he had hired a porter rather than carry everything for both of us) as we raced to our first camp site perched in a beautiful valley at 3600m. Other than a couple of Inca ruins, this part of the trip was spent admiring the surrounding 6000m snow capped peaks.

The next morning we awoke to an amazing blue sky and freshly cooked pancakes (the food provided on the trip was fantastic) and set off for what would be our hardest day of the trek. Within 30min of setting off, dark clouds had come from nowhere and the heavens opened as we reached the first and highest pass - Dead Womens Pass (named after the rather familiar similarity between the mountain and a females chest). After struggling to get oxygen in the high altitude (4200m) we were all glad of the downhill section to lunch. The rest of the day was spent under ponchos climbing the second pass (easy at 3998m) and sleeping well at the second campsite overlooking an Inca ruin and the glaciers.

The third day is the easy day, but we still had 4 hours of downhill to do before arriving at the last campsite and BEER!!!! That day we had 1100m of downhill (mainly steps) and by the time we reached the campsite we were glad of the walking sticks. We spent the night helping the kiwis empty the beer fridge and went to bed early in preparation for the 4am wake up call.

The final day started with stars in the sky and a good mood for all the trekkers - hopefully we were going to get good weather for Machu Picchu. We started walking at 5:30 and after an hour reached the Sun Gate for the first view of Machu Picchu. It was totally amazing. The sun was shining, there was blue sky and there were no people walking the ruins - the perfect photo shot. The rest of the day was spent walking the ruins (absolutely huge and how they built it at this high is still a wonder) and hiking up the mountain behind the ruins for the birds eye view (see photos). After the knees finally packed it in, we got the train back to Cusco and are now having a day of rest.