Published: May 12th 2012May 12th 2012
So i've seen beautiful pictures of Machu Picchu on google with mysterious fog roling around the hills like some kind of scottish moor. The classic shot on all of the posters from all over Peru must be the easiest picture to get considering the multitude of variations out there. Wrong! Aparently the dramatic meteorogical effect is frightened off by the hoards of tourists and and you have to wake up in the middle of the night just to sneak up on it without being noticed. With an unpleasant look on my face this was the situation we were briefed on in an irish styled Cusco pub. With this helpfull information we headed off. Hearded like cattle with the other eager shutter bugs onto a train for a 4 hour tour at just past walking speed along a river towards Aguas Calientes. The farther we got from Cusco the steeper the terrain became, mountains covered in green shooting almost straight up. And the leather brown river lined with plastic bags began to look almost drinkable, almost. Thankfully we chose the Vista Dome train which allowed us to slide down in our seats and tilt our heads back to see out the window
covered ceiling to the tops of the peaks. Some covered in snow and others with masses of green clinging on all the way to the top. The train ride was beautifull, and every time we passed those suckers sweating it out on the Inca Trail we laughed a little and sipped our Inca Cola.
Aguas Calientes was nice, steep mountains bla bla. Not much to talk about there though we had chineese food and tried to sleep as early as possible for our 4am ambush of the illustrious cloud vapour. 2 alarms chimed together in the dead of night, or morning for the cloud hunter. We snuck out of bed and out of the hotel carefull not to wake any of the other travelers so we could be the first to make it to the ruins. Perfect, the street outside the hotel was dead quiet. Excited we rounded the corner to the bridge and looked down the creek, the other small bridge was crowded with a pack of tourists rushing to the bus pick up. No! Our exitement took a little hit but to compensate we quickened our pace and the ticket booth came into view. Without a hint
of sun in the sky we could still see the 5 buses parked along the road and the line up of crazy people with thier digital SLR's and tripods streatching past the 5th bus. To keep the lump in my throught from growing we ran to the end of the line pushing Japanese and Frenchmen out of the way. As we stood in line sunlight started to filter through the dark cloud above the mountains. And at that point the first bus fired up it's engine and they started to load up. Quickly the first bus filled to capacity and then the second. The great line up ahead of us quickly diminished and we were on our way up the steep dirt switchback to watch the sun rise out of the bus window.
Our timing for Machu Picchu as poorly planned as it felt was great. Once we pushed through the bottle neck at the gates to the park we had to haul ass up the trail passing wheezing hikers taking thier time to acclimatize and take pictures of each other beside a useless plaque. Up the stone steps and through the trees the short trail opened up to
grand terracing and a small stone hut over looking the ancient Inca who knows what. With the multitude of paths to take through the park the tourist hoard seemed to dissipate for a short time. We walked around the hill opposite the ruins upon the terracing watching the prized beast (the fog) play hide and seek with every stone and mountain from our elevated view. It was a fascinating sight, and although we shared it with what at times felt like 2,500 other people it was still very special. We spent a long day there once the fog had melted off and the sun came out to redden our faces. We put the cameras away periodically and strolled through the ruins pretending to know why they had built all this all the way up here. Any more of our expierience there can be described through the pictures which if we're lucky will give a faint feeling of what it feels to be in such a beautifull and mysterious place.
There are more photos below