As we continued to wind through mountains upon the Incan Trail, the path started to get more… narrow. There were points where it was only a couple feet wide. Initially, the narrow-ness can be harrowing, but you eventually get pretty used to the idea of a chance fall to death.
The days illuminated how truly epic the world can be. You hike along a trail built on the side of a cliff-face, hundreds of years ago with fog so thick you cannot see the next bend in the road, only to take that bend to have the fog lift into one of the most beautiful valleys you’ve ever seen. I could go on with fanciful descriptions about this place for hours, but we should probably continue. Suffice it to say that five days is not enough time here.
Our final day, we were scheduled to reach Machu Picchu in the early afternoon. From dawn we could see our goal in the distance, only to be swallowed up by mountains again as we hiked. Every once in a while, you take a bend and get a momentary glimpse of the amazing ancient ruin.
We arrived, rather smelly, into the tourist destination. One girl wrinkled her nose as we walked in, but I earned my trip there so I don’t mind offending some of the more delicate tourists. Machu Picchu itself is pretty spectacular. Far grander than the ruins and way stations on the trail, it spreads over a huge area, with massive terraces. We spent the afternoon wandering the place.
We eventually took a bus down the mountain into the nearest town, Aqua Caliente. We booked a pretty decent hotel for ourselves and took some nice long showers. After that, back to what I do best! We spent the rest of the night and next day wandering about the town drinking.
That pretty much concluded our trip. The flight home was uneventful, aside from one tidbit. I had purchased a walking stick in Peru to use on the trail. I, in many cases, trusted my life to this stick upon some of the more treacherous parts of the trail. On the way to the airport, I was leaning on it and it shattered right in my hands. I’m happy it decided to wait until we were out of harms way, but man… that could have been disastrous if it happened a couple days earlier.