Peru Pt. 5: Machu Picchu

The day I came all the way to Peru for.

Day Seven:
We woke up at 3:45. In the morning. AM. Yes. 3:45. I packed up my things and shoved a few pieces of bread in my half-awake face and lined up with everyone else around 5 at the checkpoint, which opened at 5:30. Once we were through, it was an easy peasy two hour hike to Machu Picchu.

Except that it was raining.

I had sort of expected it to rain the whole time so up until that point I was feeling very lucky. But when I woke up in my tent and heard the rain thudding against the canvas I was less than thrilled. At least it wasn’t the first day?

So we trudged through the rain, which eventually let up, wearing our plastic ponchos over the top of our gear. I think it would be better to call them sweat boxes because that is exactly what they were…steamy bags that kept the rain out while heating you up so much that you were drenched in sweat anyway. Yea…I was real attractive.

AND FINALLY! After what our guide called the oh-my-god-steps, which were actually not difficult, just frightening because they are straight up, like scaling a wall, we arrived at the Sun Gate. From the Sun Gate you should be able to have an amazing panoramic view of Machu Picchu, but all we had was clouds. We waited and waited and waited for them to clear while countless groups went past us, down the trail to the site. There were a handful of times were it seemed like it might burn off, but nothing.

So we headed down to the site. I was so full of excitement I could have cried!
We got there and had a victory beer (around 7:30 am) before starting the walking tour. It’s funny because there is this mix of dirty, tired people who just spent four days hiking to Machu Picchu, and clean people who just got of the two hour train now huffing and puffing their way up a flight of stairs. I was dirty and proud.

I’m just going to post some photos of Machu Picchu instead of trying to describe it. I will just say that it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Truly. I am floored just thinking about it and I am so lucky to have been able to go…I will never forget it in my life.

And that’s that.

I will say again that the hike was the hardest thing I’ve even done in my life. But it was also quite possibly the most fulfilling. I’m sure with time I’ll forget how bad it was because it’s so easy to just remember the photos above and the perfection of it all. I don’t know that I would do the hike again, but I will most definitely be back.