Day: June 23, 2013

Machu Picchu – Trek Day 6


…Happy Father’s Day! (Although I know when you’re reading this it will be long gone). An early start at 6:30 for a somewhat unexpected uphill trek for three hours towards the Llactapata Pass at 8,974 feet. Hilde and I left with Carlos together with Blanca and Karla to whom we have become very attached. They both work in the office for Mountain Lodges and have been with us since the beginning. They have hiked with Hilde and myself most days and on this special Sunday I have become their surrogate father for Father’s Day. They have certainly have made the trip that extra bit special and we shall miss them when we go home. The hike started in the shade but as we reached the summit the sun magically lit up the landscape and illuminated a parrot sitting high in the trees enjoying the view of the valley far below. The rest of the group, which left at 7, caught up with us before we reached the Llactapata ruins where we had our first view of Machu Picchu in the distance. I think we all had goose bumps realizing the goal of the last five days was in sight; it was a great moment. On the grass in front of the ruins, with Machu Picchu in the distance, Pepe finished his history of the Incas and described how Hiram Bingham made his remarkable discovery. I had a lovely surprise during his talk when my cell phone suddenly chimed with text messages from Natalia, Alex and Adelyn wishing me Happy Father’s Day; a moment not to be forgotten. After we had all taken our photos we continued downhill stopping for a hot lunch at the observatory before continuing on to the Hydroelectric train station. The descent was long, steep, hot and very slippery but experts as we now are!! we reached the valley floor, crossed a suspension bridge, and made it in good time to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, our final destination at the foot of Machu Picchu. Before the train left we said our goodbyes to Carlos and I presented him with my Black Diamond hiking poles as a way of expressing my heartfelt thanks for his helping me survive the week. The train journey was brief but sitting even for an hour in the rather glamorous vista car was a welcome relief. We arrived at our hotel, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu, which is quite wonderful with beautiful gardens to be explored. Pisco sours all round at six followed by dinner with Blanca and Karla. Then to bed for an early start in the morning at 4:45 to catch the bus to Machu Picchu. The countdown will soon be history…