Machu Picchu, Peru
13° 9' S 72° 29' W
Jul 05, 2010 20:52
Distance 36km

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THERE!!!! The Magnificient Machu Picchu site

Machu Picchu, Monday, July 5 

Early (3:30 AM) we were up and having breakfast and headed for the bus to take us to the ticket office to get our ticket to the site PLUS one of only 400 passes to climb Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu (Quechua: "Young Peak").  This is the mountain directly behind Machu Picchu which gives the overall site its special majesty. The bonus from doing the Lares Trial is that you can do this extra climb whereas hikers from the Inca Trial arrive too late to get a ticket for this climb.  When you see a photo of Machu Picchu Wayna Picchu is in clear view and the question quickly comes as to where you climb this hill also.  Now I can say I have. Re-visiting MP is a wonderful gift, it is the most spectacular singular site (along with Valley of the Kings in Egypt) I have ever visited, so to re-see it was special.  Other places in the world are awesome, but MP and Valley of the Kings trump all others in terms of stand alone splendor.  In terms of shear beauty you cannot top MP 

Prologue: this hike was pushing it for an ageing traveler like myself…… When I finished the Inca Trial three years ago I noted on a blog entry (entry 26, July 27, 2007, second paragraph) saying I would not do it again, and it fact I did a different trial so that promise was honored, so now I make the same commitment again. 

What follows is from Wikipedia:

Machu Picchu or "Old Mountain", is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). The Incas started building the estate around AD 1400 but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction and, since it was not found and plundered by the Spanish after they conquered the Incas, it is important as a cultural site.

Machu Picchu is situated above a loop of the Urubamba River, which surrounds the site on three sides, with cliffs dropping vertically for 450 metres (1,480 ft) to the river at their base. The area is subject to morning mists rising from the river. The location of the city was a military secret, and its deep precipices and mountains provide excellent natural defenses. The Inca Bridge, an Inca rope bridge, across the Urubamba River in the Pongo de Mainique, provided a secret entrance for the Inca army. Another Inca bridge to the west of Machu Picchu, the tree-trunk bridge, at a location where a gap occurs in the cliff that measures 6 metres (20 ft), could be bridged by two tree trunks. If the trees were removed, it would leave a 570 metres (1,870 ft) fall to the base of the cliffs, also discouraging invaders.

Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu (Quechua: "Young Peak") rises over Machu Picchu, the so-called "lost city of the Incas" and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher than Machu Picchu.According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor and the Temple of the Sun.

Photos / videos of "THERE!!!! The Magnificient Machu Picchu site":

Looking down around 6:00 AM, before the crowds overwhelm the site.   We were one of the first groups on the site.  The Inca Trial hikers arrived around 6:30. We got to a high point to see the sunrise over MP. MP pre-sunrise. Trying to captue the granduer of the three mountain ranges that collide at MP, one is to the left, the other behind and the last to the right. Early sunrise, you can see the first sunlight hitting the top right side of the mountain behind, called Wayna Picchu.  We climbed this peak later in the day. Shadow silhoutted on the mountan behind MP. These remains are in good shape, but they are only 600 years old you have to remember. Just after the sun has finished rising.  Behind is Wayna Picchu which we were able to climb as we got one of the 400 tickets (at 4:30 AM) to do this extra (free) adventure. Valley below MP.  That is well over a 1000 metres down. Ruins and rubble everywhere. Looking out one of the windows to the valley below.  Note how the angles are not squre, rather tilt inwards.  The Inca figured this out which is why their buildings are still standing up even though there are many strong earthquakes in the area. A new roof and ready for occupancy. View from the top of Wayna Picchu.  MP is the cleared area in the foreground.  The zig-zag path is the road up for Aguas Calientes.  From this angle MP loses its grandeur. Some of the 400 who got to climb Wayna Picchu.  This was not an easy climb, the decent was almost vertical in some places.  It was a 2 hour round trip for this hike. There were buildings on this mountain as well.  Wonderful dividend from doing Lares Trial. View from the top of Wayna Picchu, a long and steep descent. Remains, and you get to go right up to them and touch them. Pathway between buildings. Building off the natural formation of the site. Looking up. This is one of the more special buildings of MP.  The windows are precisely positioned and located to catch the first rays of the sun on the summer/winter solstice and spring/fall equnoxes.  These stones are more finely polished and fitted together to reflect the importance of this site. One of the sacred chambres of MP. The mountains to the right of MP.  No end on photos can capture the splendeour and awesomeness of seeing Machu Picchu site in person.