Published: March 16th 2011December 26th 2010
DAY ONE - Bikes & Rafts
We Decided on the Inka Jungle Trek over the traditional Inka Tour for couple of reasons; mainly after our excursion on Isla de Sola, we'd found that Kjersti's lungs weren't too great with the attitude and secondly my idea of fun isn't trekkin for 8hrs a day, eatting camp food and other scoutish behavour.
so, after a hazy boxing day we awoke early to get ready for our lift out of Cusco, for some reason the tour guides turned up half an hour early. Luckily, Chris who was staying at the hostel, spoke Spanish and was also coming on the trip managed to put them in line and got them to come back half hour later at the correct time. Thirty minutes later we jumped in a small van, picked up a few others and headed up into the hills.
After a good 2 hour drive of twists and turns we arrived at the top of the mountain. Here, our bikes were off loaded for us. Waterproofs put on and off we went.
To begin with the weather was misty and rainy similar to the Death Road ride but once we
got further down the mountain the clouds began to clear and the sun began beaming down on us.
Steep rock face broke off into wild jungle, the view sprawling out before us. The more we rode down the hotter it got, with everyone stripping and applying the insect repellent. We were delayed half way down by a still active landslide. The small cat digger was at work but had to keep stopping to allow more boulders to roll down the hill over the road and continue into the valley. After 90 minutes tho we all got into the van and made a quick move to out of the danger.
The bottom of the mountain broke out into muddy, unfinished roads . Slowly whinning down to small hut where we dismounted, had some lunch and got ready for the afternoon.
After a short bus ride, an even shorter safety briefing, we jumped in our 8 man raft and hit the river.
To begin with we floated down the river, getting used to the feel of the boat and the rowing commands.
Hitting a few rapids at first but mostly in awe of the beautiful mountain ranges that enclosed us on
This is the steps they used to connect Machu Picchu to Cusco!
either side. After a good 50 minutes, the river began to pick with stronger twists and rapid streams, we all threw ourselves at it and at one point into the river before finishing up when the rapids died down and settling in for the night.
DAY TWO - Trekking & More Trekking
Today was the day we had the main bulk of walking, am sure anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not the keenest rambler so i wasn't looking forward too this too much.
Thankfully, we had a good feed, drink & sleep the night before so were ready to roll in the morning.
We set off after breakfast, a little delayed as it was raining heavily so we waited til around 8am when the rain was peetering out. The plan was to walk along the river, straight up to our next hostel for the night, 6 hours up the road.
Unfortunately this wasn't the case as it was rainy season, meaning more land slides making parts of the road unpassable. Fortunately though our guide, Silvio was really on point with his local knowledge and quickly figured out the best routes to take.
Whilst we walked we got to know our fellow travellers, Chris - A funny, quick witted twenty something German lad, Thomas - A Beer and Rum fuelled, interesting and funny fellow from Berlin, Rachelle - An interesting lady from Detroit, a Swish couple who kept themselves to themselves and another swish who seemed determinded to create a flick book of the whole trip from the thousands of photos he took. Literally thousands.
What was originally set to be a nice 6 hour walk turned out to be ten and a half hours cutting in, along, up and over the river. Thankfully this wasn't as bad has it all sounds. The guides broke the trek up with various rest stops, a lunch fit for kings (with a seista!) and a natural hot spa complete with 12 yr old Peruvian kid selling cold beer!
We arrived in the small town we were staying for the night, Santa Maria, grabbed a quick shower and then went for a well deserved dinner and a few beers before retiring for a well earned sleep.
[h2[DAY THREE - Zip Lines & Hydro Power Stations
I'm not ashamed to say day
three had me worried. Today was the day we were doing the zip line and although stepping up to the challenge many a time, I still hate heights.
After a restless night of dreaming about falling to my death, we awoke for a hearty breakfast and caugth a mini van out to the zip line site.
Set out in the valley of the Urubamba river, the site was housed in a beautiful bit of forest, with a stream running through it and possibilly the best view an outdoor toliet could ever have.
The staff were all very friendly, although yet again we had another worryingly short safetly talk before climbing into our harshesses.
Luckily, due to the fear induced state I was in, I double and tripled checked my harness only to find a vital part sealed shut and totally obsolete thus being worthless in keeping me alive out in the middle of a valley.
A quick change of gear and we bagan our trek up to the first zip line.
After a not too grim twenty minute climb throught the forest we met with the first of 6 zip lines we had to cross. Apparently
the first two line were the slow ones, the second two the faster and the fifth one very very fast, finishing on a smooth 6th.
Talking about a zip line and getting excited about flying through the air like superman in a tour office is a completely different thing to actually being stood on a mountian, looking down the thin thin piece of wire thats meant to carry your weight across the length of the valley. Alas, having paid to do it and having climbed all the way up, one just has to have a word with ones self and do it.
We tore across the sky, whipping across from mountain to mountain. It's pretty hard to put into words. The first line or two you are getting used to the fact you are not falling to your death. The second two, you actually manage to have a look around and down at the beauty around you and by the last couple you couldn't be having more fun.
Afterwards, we headed back down the mountain and to the town we stayed the night before.
From here we set off for a couple of hours walk, this time
Stopping for a while
having a well deserved break!
actually walking along the river and heading toward the hydro elctric station built in the river.
Along the way, our guide Slivio pointed out all the changes and extra sections that had been cut into the river to accommadate the hydroplant. We also got to cross the river in a small cart on a pulley wire, indiana Jones style for the worldy sum of 25p.
We stopped for lunch in a small cafe, before continuing the rest fo the way to Aquas Calientes (the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu) along the railway track. The track was still in use but thankfully the trains were loud enough to hear them coming so no Stand By Me type incidents occured. Along a couple of hours in length, few of which were rainy,for me this was by far my favourite bt of trekking we did on the whole trip.
Reminescent of something out of a film, we wondered down the track, taking in the scenery and getting to know one another better.
We arrived around 6pm by this time dragging our feet. Had a quick shower in our hostel for the night, went for dinner and crashed out
for a well earned sleep!
DAY FOUR - Machu Picchu
This was it, the final day and the accumlation of all our walking, rafting, eatting, sleeping, zipping and drinking.
We woke at 4am, whilst Kjersti went to walk up a thousand oddly shaped inca steps in the dark and hammering rain for the "experience" of it all. I decided to take the civilised route for that hour of the morning and hopped on the bus.
We both arrived roughly around 5.30 and joined the short queue to get in, making sure to get our stamps for Wynupichu, the highest mountain in the Machu Piccu park of which they only let 400 a day climb.
Stamps on tickets, we headed into the park with our other trek mates and meet with our the rest of the people on the guided tour of the ruins.
Over the next hour we wondered through the ruins, with our guide stopping us at various points to tell us about the history behind each site like the Astronimy room which the inca's used to calcutlate their calender.
The sun room, where they somehow worked out how to which days were
The Monkey in the cafe we stopped at
going to be sunny. The kings bedroom, the only place in the village with a toilet. The sacurifce rooms and how the ceremomnys worked.
All this was very interesting and it was amazing to finally be at Machu Picchu but alas, mother nature did not feel the same way and it had truly peed down on us since waking up that morning.
I myslef, had on waterproof pants, jackets and two ponchos but was still completely soaked. I imagine it was even worse for those that climbed. I think even after living in Manchester for 6 year, even i had not seen rain of this power.
After the tour, we dragged ourselves around the ruins a bit more before heading to the stupidly over priced cafe for some cover and a coffee.
With no sign of the rain letting up, the majority of the group decided to head back to hotel to dry off and come back later that afternoon. Having already got up at 4am to get my stamp to enter Wynupichu at 11am, I decided to stick it out in the rain and go climb the mountain. After all, i was british. If we didn't
Not the safest!
do anything when it rained, nothing would get done.
Me, Chris and Thomas all set off to the Wynupichu entrance. Signing in we begin a good hour long hike up the mountain in the hammering rain. Gruelling at times, this was the hardest we had had to work so far.
Thankfully, good banter and a few rest stops got us through the climb. The higher we climbed the more the rain subsided and finally having crawled under a bolder we reached the top of the mountain and it was baking.
We ended up staying at the top the rest of the afternoon, taking photos, having a nap, doing some sun bathing and soaking up the amazing view. We could have stayed their all day but around 3pm the security guard came and had to escort us off, as they closed the entrance to the mountain. So we wondered back down to the Machu Picchu site, which was now bathed in sunshine and much more nicer place to be in general! Finally we had a chance to take in the beauty of the whole site, it's amazing construction, lay out and breath taking views.
The three of us
left the site and headed down the Inca stairs to the meet the others. We then all went for some food, whilst we struggled to keep our eyes open. After a hearty meal of typical Peruvian food we got on the train back to Ollayantambo, where a connecting bus took us back to Cusco and celebrated our adventure with a bottle of rum!
There are more photos below