Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Machu Picchu

Note: Read this post first for the full story of how we got here.

We woke up at 3:45 a.m. on the fourth day of our trek to be some of the first people let into Machu Picchu. Our trekking group began the hike up 1,600 stairs at 4:15. When we reached the top, we eagerly waited in line to be let into the park, drenched in sweat from the rigorous climb. We were some of the first people in, walking through the ancient city enveloped in morning mist and dew. It was magical.

The mountain directly behind Machu Picchu that is seen in all of the famous pictures (including the one we took at the very top of this post) is named Huayna Picchu. In order to be able to climb it you have to be some of the first people into the park to get a ticket, because they only allow 400 people on it per day. Because of this restriction, it is somewhat special to be one of the 400. Our trekking group arrived early enough to get a voucher to hike it at 10:00 a.m.

Huayna Picchu:

The trail was a little steep, as you can see. That is my butt hiking up in the picture below. The Incas were pretty crazy. Not only did they build Machu Picchu on top of a mountain, but then they decided to build more structures on top of Huayna Picchu:

We made it to the top. Hanging off the edge:
I was very happy to be here and alive at this moment:The ruins look so little and we are so big:
Then the craziest thing happened. Remember how I said only 400 people in the whole entire world could climb Huayna Picchu per day? So what are the chances that you would see someone you knew at the top of the mountain as you are enjoying the view and eating your lunch? Well, it happened to me. My friend Takeo, who I am in my master's program with, just happened to hike the mountain the same day at the same time as me! It was more than exciting to see him at the top:

Matt and I were lucky enough to get to spend about 10 hours at Machu Picchu, and I wouldn't have wanted one minute less. It was a beautiful, majestic day that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Huayna Picchu and me:

Matt likes llamas:
What a perfect day:


  1. Wow! What AMAZING pics! Looks like a blast... so random that you and Takeo ran into eachother ;)
    Looking forward to seeing you guys when u return.

  2. That's so exciting. I'm jealous because I wasn't able to hike up Huayna Picchu. See you Saturday!

  3. I see a christmas card in one of those really amazing pics. I can't wait to see you all Friday.


  4. Wonderful pictures! They make me want to hike it right now! Craziness about Takeo...small world!

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