Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peru, Cusco and Machu Pichu - What a great Vacation!

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We bought more rain gear than we could ever need. Everyone said the rainy season started in December but were were only a couple weeks shy so I wanted to be safe. The upside was supposedly less crowds at Machu Pichu when we finally arrive. How will it turn out? No one wants to be outside in the rain for days. Especially at the high elevations in the Andes mountains where temperatures at night were probably going to be chilly.

The trip was amazing, the rain was minimal and by far we over packed with rain gear. I only actually worse rain gear one morning for 3 hours, the rest of the time it just rained at night. We met up with 8 others in our group and our tour guides, Ecoinka, at KM82. This trip was a bit different that others as we camped the first night outside of the trail to make sure we were the first ones in. The landscape is amazing, the mountains surreal. The entire trip was just beautiful.

The first day we awoke to clear skies and incredible views of the snow capped mountains surrounding us. The first day is supposedly the easiest. Which it was but don't let easiest fool you into thinking it was easy. It was still a tough, long grueling day of hiking. We saw some amazing ruins while hiking along the Urubamba river valley. We were delighted to have fresh cooked food for each meal. The porters really made the trip amazing.

The second day is the hardest, and it was. The hike up to Dead Woman's Pass was absolutely miserably difficult. I believe we gained about 4000 feet in elevation today. And just when you get to the top and think it will be easy from here - I don't think so. Going back down from the pass was just as hard if not harder than going up. The steep, tall, uneven rocks they call stairs will torture your knees and legs the entire way down. The views on day 2 make it all worth it though.

Day 3 ended up being just as hard as day 2. Our stamina was low and our legs were in pain before we even started. We began hiking around 6:30am today and didn't finish until almost dusk. Day 3 did provide us with quite a few amazing ruins to explore along the way. The camp after day 3 is at the end of the Inca Trail and the begining of the 3 hour hike down to Machu Pichu. All groups camp here and they even have a little bar. A couple beers sure hit the spot after our last few days.

With our legs shot the next morning was a lot harder than I thought. The route is pretty flat for an hour then you go straight up for 20 minutes and then back down eventually into Machu Pichu. By the time we made it half of our group could barely walk.

All in all it is am amazing trek with Machu Pichu being an incredible reward for your effort at the end. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors in hiking has to give it a shot! We only encountered a few hours of hiking in the rain on our third day. It did rain pretty much every night but that only helped me sleep even better.

Machu Pichu and Peru Vacation Report