Monday, September 17, 2018

Machu Picchu Day 2: Huayna Picchu

Peru Day 5: The next morning, we awoke extra early in order to get on the first buses to Machu Picchu. What we thought was “early” though was about a 1000 people late! The line for the buses stretched several blocks into the city. However, this is likely the scene every morning as numerous buses soon started to arrive and load people. We arrived just as the sky was breaking but the sun had not truly crested the mountain tops - truly perfect timing as we realized once we entered the site.

Our first priority was to get me to the gate for Huayna Picchu, the mountain overlooking the citadel that one sees in the background of nearly every photo of the site. The add-on hike was a steep climb up to the peak. Making our way over, we saw the sunrise over the mountain peaks, flooding the site in sunlight.
Sunrise over Machu Picchu / Huayna Picchu

At this point, we split up, with my parents touring the site by themselves. I went ahead to the trail entrance and started my ascent. Who should I meet along the way but the Puerto Ricans? They were nearly as happy to see me as I, them. Sharing a few laughs made the steep climb that much easier. While there were steps, the climb did induce a feeling of vertigo anytime one inadvertently looked down.
Steep steps up to Huayna Picchu peak

At times, the stairs became so steep that I was left using my hands as much as my legs to stabilize the climb. After much exertion, we finally reached the rocky peak. I felt like I was hovering above the citadel, looking straight down at it. The vantage point also gave one a sense of perspective, and just how unique the site truly was.
Machu Picchu citadel, from the vantage point of Huayna Picchu peak
The time at the top as usual felt too short, but luckily the descent came much more easily. I could not imagine how the climbers ascending I passed on the way were faring, as the sun was fully out now and beating down on all of us. After about 45 minutes, I rejoined my parents in the citadel below.

We spent another two hours, wandering the site. We made our way to the Templo Del Sol (Sun Temple) at the heart of the site, considered its most sacred spot. As we descended, water channels ran alongside us, hinting at how the site once received its water supply. Around noon, we decided to head back to the bus for Aguas Calientes to catch our afternoon train back to Cusco. We rested as the train smoothly returned us to more modern times, a short respite before returning to an even more primitive locale: the Amazon.


No comments:

Post a Comment