Machu Picchu: Crown jewel of the Inca empire. Also, pretty darn high. Like, in the clouds high. Like, were the Incans crazy, or just really really defensive. How’d we get up there? In the immortal words of Egg Shen, “wasn’t easy”. We’re going up there. In the cloud part.
We started at the “base” of the mountain (that is, /only/ six thousand (6000) ft elevation) and climbed more-or-less straight up. See these stairs? There were at least two of these for each of the eight switchbacks the road does, and usually four. Luckily the Inca realized that even they would eventually get tired. They included resting spots, some of which have been kept up more aggressively than others. There was a marker that reminded us to be careful.
For a bit of perspective, these are looking straight out. If you can see near the bottom here and here, you can see the train station what is at Machu Picchu Pueblo (aka Aguas Calientas) where we were at the beginning of the day. Ouch! Of course, the farmers had even more work ahead of them, at least some of them. The terraces at the top were worked.
Americans are obviously not the only folk to visit Machu Picchu, as we can see there are/were enough visitors for them to erect an idiogrammatic (Chinese and Japanese letters are idiograms right? My linguistics is a bit rusty) post.
We went up to a way point to the lookout point/gate of the moon prior to Machu Picchu proper. There used to be two paths up further, but one has been lost, ending in vegetation and pain. We, and by we I mean Zack, went to the gate. The rest of us, and by that I mean me, decided that we’d already climbed a few kilometres, and these stairs looked daunting and decided to take some pictures “down” here
Of course, just because I didn’t go all the way to the gate doesn’t mean I didn’t climb higher than needed to visit the mountian redoubt. It was constructed below the top of the mountain and the climb provided amazing ‘aerial’ views where by aerial I mean that’s where a chopper would sit in a modern city. And before you ask, I did not realize what I was doing when I had this picture taken. I presume it was to the concept of exhaustion I was talking
Machu Picchu is, of course, of equal or greater beauty up close. The scope of construction is amazing even in places where the stonework is beginning to fail. The dwellings (at least, I presume them to be so; they may be storehouses) are well-built and the views striking. We were of course just two of many who trekked
And a site like this is always going to have the religious nature. If you meet the Machu Pichhu on the road, kill it for the real Machu Picchu is within you? Not really.
When you’ve completed your visit, nothing beats chilling on a bench with the locals.