Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tawantinsunyu - The Inca Empire and the Inca Trail

Our trip to Peru was anything short of amazing! Primarily due to our guide Miguel, who is sort of a renaissance man, proud of the Quechua culture and really a great guy. We were fortunate enough to spend a whole lot of quality time with him, since it was only Alison and I in the group during our 4 day hike along the Inca trail. It was a tough hike but it was an experience of a lifetime.

Instead of putting all of it down in a long narrative, here are the highlights:
  • Altitude sickness - headaches, fever, elevated heart rates, indigestion
  • Coca leaves - went on a quest for some leaves, drank them in tea, chewed them
  • 25 lbs on our backs? - both of us carried our own packs (~80% of hikers do not!)
  • Highest elevation - dead woman's pass at 14,000 feet!
  • Microclimates - the mountains presented us with: humid, hot, dry, cold and rainy weather
  • Porters - the heroes of the hike: with >55 lbs on their backs, they leave later and arrive earlier to cook and setup camp
  • Ruins - beautiful and amazing ruins that are part of a grand vision of the Incas that radiate from Cusco, the navel of the universe
  • Machu Picchu - the most beautiful and spectacular experience after ~26 total hours of hiking
Day 1 - at the start of the hike

Day 2 - at the top of dead woman's pass

Day 3 - close to campsite (Winay Wayna)

Day 4 - Machu Picchu 

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