Last full hiking day ,just 6km from the Lost City!

Trip Start Dec 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2008

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 3 - Our last full hiking day to Winay Wayna, just 6km from the lost city!
Another 5.45am start with lemon tea in the tent to wake us followed by pancakes and our infamous staple diet from previous countries, PORRIDGE! Seeing as we had arrived in the dark, it was great to finally see in daylight where we were and what our campsite looked like and as expected it didn't  disappoint, around us the sun was rising on the Andean mountains and snow caps, just perfect, again another pinch  was needed to realise you were here!
Day 3 we were told was a fairly easy day of small ups and downs (which was music to our ears) taking us further and deeper into the Andean jungle and of course just a few km from our final destination, the lost city in the jungle! Walking up for a while at first the vegetation became greener, denser and thicker than previous days as we followed the jungle ridge line and trekked through a few small Inca tunnels, my favourite. The one thing that did surprise us though was the solitude of the jungle, apart from a few bird noises there was little else and it was oddly very peaceful, a far cry from the loud racket of other jungles we had hiked in.
After 2 hours we reached the top of a ridge platform at 3900m with panoramic vista's all around us, dense jungle and a view of Agua Calientes town below. We could now also hear the horn of the train which normally would make the setting even better but for us it meant we were closer to civilisation losing that remote mountain feel which we had loved for the past 3 days. Ads and I walked down to the mountain edge and ahead through the mist we thought we saw Machu Picchu so we literally ended up running to the edge excitedly. Unfortunately it was not the lost city we had seen as this was on the other side of the mountain but the grand inca farming terraces built high into the mountain side our guide told us were actually  part of the ancient city so we didn't feel too stupid thinking it was Machu Picchu! After a group photo with our porters and guides at the top we made our way down to an ancient inca ruin called Phuyupatamarka whose purpose was to store grain etc.. for the cities of Machu Picchu and Cusco. It was interesting to hear from our guide the levels of civilisation that lived in this very short lived Inca World in that Nobles/Priests, Architects and common people existed separately within an incan shackan type star where pumas, condors and snakes made up the other levels of this representation. Rubin was amazing, despite having done the Inca trail a staggering 600 times over 10 years, he still told us about this amazing architecture and Inca lifestyle with so much passion as if we were the first people to hear his stories. He told us also about how the Inca life despite being separate in hierarchy saw no evil within its world, everyone existed on the same level, people were kind with a strong helping community spirit where taxes were paid by building..... slightly different life to the western existence today unfortunately.
After, it was down more and more Inca steps, they definitely didn't build their paths like the romans and compared to the smooth and pristine buildings they created was quite a surprise as we slowly made our way down the jumbled steps. Mum managed to roll down part of the Inca trail but apart from a few scratches and the biggest bruise ever on her bottom ha ha, she was fine. Carrying on we passed smaller Inca buildings, saw beautiful bright red breasted birds and more amazing jungle ridges and glaciel peaks all around us with the Urubamba river weaving its way through the valley. A picture we won't forget in a hurry!
Camp was pretty much down for the next hour, for me that's the bit I dread on the ole knees and much prefer the lung pain of up! Soon we came to a cross roads where our guide told us that we could either follow him on the short cut to camp taking 25 minutes or do the long 45 minute option which continued to follow the historic Inca trail. Being the masochists we are, myself Ads and Bo took the long option and on route bumped into the other masochist in the group, irish Tom! Thankfully we weren't at all disappointed that we had taken the tougher option in that suddenly a break in the trees saw us arriving at the huge Inca terraces, called 'Intipata,' Ads and myself had seen from the high plateau peak many hours before. They seemed so far away I couldn't quite believe that we had walked that far already and were now standing on them! Literally the terraces took our breath away and there was a rather large wow and a few swear words from the 4 of us. Then we decided just to make life even harder that we would climb the 80 degree angle steps to the top! Saying it was tough was an understatement and we all made it a tad shattered and very short of breath! It was worth it though, down below the valley was gorgeous and just a distance away we could see camp, a few shouts to the group already there below heard faint roaring replys, then after taking it all in we started the descent down the terraces. The Incas or should we say archaeologists that had cleared the site appeared not to have finished this part and most of it was spent sliding down on your asse in the grassy mud on the steep descent down, it was lots of fun though! Finally the bottom terrace level was reached and we headed through the jungle and made camp. Wow how good did that feel to know that we had all made the end of day 3, had trekked approx 44km and all that was left now was the final 6km and 2 hour hike in the morning to Machu Pichu, the feeling was just incredible!
As it was only about 1pm, cold showers were had, feet were soaked in bowls to soothe the aches, everyone chilled and took in the jungle Mountain View from our tents, followed by hot drinks and popcorn of course! At 4pm Rubin dragged us out of our sleeping mode and took us 5 minutes to another very impressive Inca city in the jungle whose purpose was for meditation. This had been discovered after Machu Pichhu only in the 90's and had taken a year to clear by 100 people, this blew me away looking at how much they had achieved in that time! This time mine and Ads legs definately couldn't face the climb down to see the domestic buildings which looked like chapels below so we rested at the top with mum, Tom and Bo managed it though, crazy people! That eve our cook blew us away again with his cooking, not only did we have three courses but the main meal saw us eating stuffed roast potatoes and cordon bleu chicken followed by pizza of all things and chocolate blamonche! I am not sure how Ads and I are going to cope going back to out budget of 2 meals a day after all this food, doggy bags perhaps?! After we thanked our porters and staff with tips, if we could we all said we would have given them about 5 times more but its so hard when despite them being poor, you two are too skint to give them as much as you would like, what a tremendous bunch they had been!! Ads then went for a beer with Tom whilst I crashed to bed as the 4am start to make Machu Pichu for sunrise was fast appearing!

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