We spent 4 days of hiking and camping on the Inca Trail to reach the mystical Machu Picchu. This turned out to be a pretty intense hike, but well worth the effort. There are about 7 major and several smaller Inca ruins to explore along with the breathtaking scenery of the Andes.
The Inca Trail was the Inca's way to communicate between settlements. They had no transportation other than by foot. The trail was essentially a human line of communication made of granite stones and steps that reached to all corners of the Andes. The portion that we hiked started near Ollantaytambo, a town that still has the original Inca narrow pedestrian streets and waterways. The trail winds through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, up over "Dead Woman's Pass" (4200 M) and down into a cloud forest.
To hike the Inca Trail, you must have a permit and go with a guide. GAP Adventures made this adventure a very memorable one for our group of 16 travelers. We had AMAZING porters that heaved 20 kg (around 50 pounds) of gear up to each lunch spot and the night campsite. These porters all come from the same community, much like Ccaccaccollo in our last post. These porters each had the strength of 10 of us and a contagious amount of kindness. While we sucked air hiking up the pass, they literally ran by us with smiles on their faces. We stayed in comfortable tents and had delicious multi-course meals every day. It was truly an amazing experience. We will soon have a video of the hike. Machu Picchu deserves a post of its own, soon to follow.