Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Part 1: Our Journey to Machu Picchu: Biking, Trekking, Climbing

We set out on a four day, three night “Inka Jungle Trek” on Wednesday morning. We knew we would be biking, trekking and (most importantly!) visiting Machu Picchu, but no amount of research, dreaming or anticipating could prepare us for the experiences ahead of us!

Day 1

After an included breakfast and a couple hours riding through the mountains by van it was time to gear up for the mountain biking portion of our adventure! 55 kilometers (three to four hours) of biking from high up in the Andes mountains down into a sleepy mountain “town” (if you can call it that) for a traditional homemade lunch. From there we continued by van to the town of Santa Theresa where we rested for the night after a relaxing soak in the relaxing natural hot springs.
All geared up for biking through the mountains!
A stop along our gorgeous biking route

Day 2

The next day’s agenda was over six hours of trekking and we woke up to pouring rain. The rain delayed our departure for an hour or two, but we had an agenda to keep, so once it let up enough we were off! We hiked through the jungle, along a winding mountain road, through some more paths along the raging Urubamba river, and then following a path along the railroad tracks. After about four hours we stopped for lunch, when it stopped raining. We continued two more hours until we reached Aguas Calientes – getting a small glimpse of the splendor and magic of Machu Piccchu that awaited us in the days ahead through a few ancient terraces that were visible along the trek.

Our sexy ponchos to protect our bags from the rain
(they clearly didn't do much for our heads!)
Hiking over the railroad tracks
Happy because we dried out after lunch!
Aguas Calientes, an adorable town situated on either side of 
the powerful Urubamba River, connected by several bridges

Day 3

On our third day, Drew and I hiked up Putucusi Mountain on our own. Our guides from the previous day had told us about it and we were intrigued. It was a free climb and supposedly provided an incredible and unique view of Machu Picchu, which we were getting anxious to see! It is not a very well-known climb, but is becoming more popular as a way for people on a budget to glimpse The Lost City without paying the steep costs of entering Machu Picchu. (Sidenote: the hike was incredible and view pretty awesome, but it does NOT substitute for actually being in Machu Picchu and experiencing it face to face.) The best part of the hike was the ladders, the view, and the fact that we only passed three other people the entire time, on our hike down.

One of the several ladders we climbed along the way
View from the top (Machu Picchu behind us)
Drew gazing out at the incredible Andes

A much-needed jumping photo
(Machu Picchu is just across the mountain just to my right)
A better sneak peak of Machu Picchu

Next Post: Part 2: Setting Foot in The Lost City, Machu Picchu Revealed

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