Peru: Machu Picchu, Sept. 4, 2007

Postby Tony Crocker Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:41 pm

From the 3rd Inca Trail campsite, a gate opens at 5:30AM. If you leave then, you reach the Intipuku (Gate of the Sun overlooking Machu Picchu) by 7AM and get into Machu Picchu itself about 7:30. The daytrippers arrive by train after 10AM.
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The early morning "postcard view" is overcast with some fog.
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Our guide Luis, imperial-style fitted wall at right, natural rock with a common-style rock and mortar wall at left.
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Sun Temple. Slab in middle is illuminated through visible window at winter solstice sunrise, and by a side window at summer solstice.
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Farming terraces and caretaker's hut at top.
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Temple of the 3 Windows.
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Hitching Post of the Sun at highest point within the upper city.
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These rocks were the quarry for Machu Picchu. A Sunset temple was going to be built at the semicircle on the right side of the path.
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re: Peru: Machu Picchu, Sept. 4, 2007

Postby Tony Crocker Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:01 pm

More Machu Picchu pics. The sun came out about the same time as the daytrippers arrived. After the Inca Trail no one was going to climb the 1,000+ feet to Huayna Picchu, but Aislinn and I climbed the smaller Huchuy Picchu overlooking the city.
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Common-style rock and mortar buildings are still earthquake resistant due to trapezoidal Inca construction.
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A wide grassy plaza separates the upper and lower cities at Machu Picchu.
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The two bowls are the center of the Water Temple.
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Condor Temple wings in the lower city are mostly natural rock. The condor head is a triangular rock in floor only partly visible here.
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The view from Huchuy Picchu is not too shabby. Gate of the Sun is the notch in the left part of the ridgeline at distance.
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But Huayna Picchu is behind and far above us.
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Parting view of terraces and lower city of Machu Picchu.
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High Andes snow visible from the train going back to Cusco.
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re: Peru: Machu Picchu, Sept. 4, 2007

Postby EMSC Fri May 09, 2008 3:52 pm

Tony,

Thanks for the pics.

My Wife & I were going to try to do Peru for our honeymoon, but figured we'd need 3 full weeks to do it right. As neither of us could get 3 weeks in a row off at that time (or even 2 - we ended up with 1 1/2 weeks in Costa Rica), we deferred this trip to the future.

How tough overall is the Inca trail? While I love hiking, without poles my knees no longer like down hikes over ~2K vert. After that, if I can't use poles/upper body to reduce shock & stress, my kness start locking up, etc... (yet no knee issues for me in skiing, biking, etc... whatsoever - only hiking).
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re: Peru: Machu Picchu, Sept. 4, 2007

Postby Tony Crocker Fri May 09, 2008 4:35 pm

I've had hiking issues in the past (sustained downhills), but fortunately did not on the Inca Trail. You can rent rubber-tipped poles for $10. I used them on the 1,800 vert downhill on the second day, but not at all on the 3rd day (1,000 before lunch, then 3,500 in the late afternoon) because Andrew was using them on uphills and was too far behind me.

The 3,500 is mostly Inca-built stairs; maybe that's easier on knees than a steep downhill trail.

There's also about 1,000 downhill going into Machu Picchu on the 4th morning. Total distance is 45km over 3 days plus a couple of hours on the 4th. Climb Huayna Picchu (probably the next morning if you stay overnight) and that would be another 1,000.

All the camping grunt work is done by your guide, cook and porters. Altitude (13,800 max hike, 12,000 max sleep) is an issue for some people, but I'm sure not for those who live in Colorado.
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re: Peru: Machu Picchu, Sept. 4, 2007

Postby EMSC Fri May 09, 2008 9:46 pm

The 3,500 is mostly Inca-built stairs; maybe that's easier on knees than a steep downhill trail.


Not sure I really believe that given the rock stairs ;-)

And not worried about altitude issues. I've done a decent # of 14'ers (my wife has one under her belt) and for that matter can hike uphill indefinitely, or so it seems. So far it's just the downhills that get me.
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re: Peru: Machu Picchu, Sept. 4, 2007

Postby Tony Crocker Sat May 10, 2008 1:56 am

can hike uphill indefinitely, or so it seems. So far it's just the downhills that get me.
That has generally been my situation also. It depends upon how steep the downhill is. I've done OK on steady grades like the Inca Trail and Mt. Whitney. The last one that really bothered me was the Vivian Creek trail down San Gorgonio, which is 5,500 vertical in 7 miles. Whitney is 6,100 vertical in 11 miles.

Mt. Whitney was harder than the Inca Trail, but a big part of that was carrying a 35 lb pack to 12,000 feet. In Peru you're only hiking with a day pack because the porters carry all the camping gear.
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