The happy glowing couple, Josh and Marna,
on historical ground. © Josh Cutler.
Nestled two miles up in the
mountains, at a painful elevation, sits South America's premiere ruin
site. Revealing itself amongst the clouds and jagged mountains survives
the Incan Empire's greatest achievement. The splendour of Machu Picchu grazes
the top of my personal list of "The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World."
The famous image of the rocky ruins with immense green cloudy mountains
behind them was burned in my brain
now was our chance to walk through a world of
my imagination. We scaled its ancient walls and found some of its secret
hidden corners. It was surreal to be in a place that looks like it could only
exist in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
It is truly difficult to describe the crisp blinding colours of green foliage
and grey stone mingling through a fluffy cloud. Walking around Machu Picchu is
reminiscent of walking through a dream with your eyes wide open.
|Photo. Machu Picchu...Inca land of mystery.
© Josh Cutler.
Beyond the ruins in the distance rests the quiet Huayna Picchu, a
neighbouring mountain and backdrop of the Incan city. Shrouded in fog and
reaching for the sky, its towering cap rests in the heavens. Tomorrow, we
planned to climb that massive monolith! The task seemed unrealistic
but it could
and for that reason alone
we had have a try at it.
Marna and I retired early to get a good night sleep
the best time to climb
was first thing in the morning as sun rises over the spiked Andean cliffs. We
dropped our packs off at our hostel and decided to have a soak in the hot
hence the name of the town we were staying in "Aguas Calientes".
We awoke the next morning with the roosters
woofed down some fresh fruit
and yummy coca tea, a local concoction. The quest at hand was going to require
all the strength we possessed. We caught a morning bus to the ruin site
and trekked to where the mountain path began. At this hour we had the place
all to ourselves. It was romantically beautiful in an Indiana Jones kind
|Photo. Llamas grazing at the site - Machu
Picchu. © Josh Cutler.
The two of us had to "sign in" for the hike at the trailhead
in case we
didn't return, they'd come looking for us
The trail was rough, but well marked
It climbed a spiral staircase around the
steep cliffs. We trudged through some fantastic cloud forest, spotting
hummingbirds grazing on bright jungle flowers! The passing foliage was
impressively wild considering how cold the temperature dropped in the
After forty five minutes, the altitude and climb wore on us both
it was tough
to communicate between wheezing for oxygen and gripping ropes for support. After
an hour we were so high up above sea level that Marna's nose began to bleed!
This was a serious climb! Now we know what they mean my nosebleed seats
in them! Chewing on a coca leaf seems to cure everything in Peru
so we gave it a
Photo. Finally at Machu Picchu.
After the pit stop we felt recharged and climbed the remaining hour up
the side of the mountain.
With nostrils stuffed with tissue paper, muddy clothes and achy
muscles, this was one brutal hike! The view from the top was well worth
Misty mountains of green stretched in every direction. The vast ruins of
Machu Picchu below us appeared miniscule from our elevated height. We stayed at
the apex of that mammoth mountain for an hour, resting and regrouping our
battered bodies and lungs.
|Photo. What a great window view at old Inca
site, Machu Picchu. © Josh Cutler.
A sense of accomplishment overwhelmed the both of us
That climb was a major
uphill battle against the all the elements. We would undoubtedly be celebrating
tonight with some Cuzqueña cervezas
article continues in part 4. Read about great experience and watch unique
Read more on part 4
Josh Cutler, 8 November 2004
Presentation of the author:
Photo of Josh Cutler, a great adventure traveller from the USA.
Copyright for all photos in this article: Josh Cutler.
E-mail address: NYCutler@aol.com
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