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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: -12.9122, -72.6742
I thought the hard part was over. Day three started with an impressive uphill climb. I think we were all a little disheartened by having to go back up again so steeply after going down for 2 hours the afternoon before. I guess that's mountain climbing.
Most of the rain we got during our time on the trail came this morning. We stopped pretty early on at ruins of Runkuracay. Our assistant guide, Eddie, gave us the tour here. He was scheduled to do his first turn as lead guide the following week so David wanted him to do some of the speechmaking. Poor Eddie, it was raining pretty hard and we were all feeling a little tired and cranky after a fitful, cold night in a tent and a rapid ascent and I think we were a tough audience. Most of the steps, according to David, are original through this area. The path crosses high stone embankments and skirts deep precipices so you have fabulous views, but you really have to keep your eyes on your feet most of the time. Sam took a funny video of one of the chasquis racing down the steps, followed by Alison
carefully picking her way down.
I think Day 3 was my favorite because we moved through so many different kinds of terrain and had some areas where the grade change wasn't too dramatic. By comparison to the day before, it was incredibly enjoyable and easy. Just before the end of the day we arrived at Wiñay Wayna which is a fairly large area of terraced ruins. Our group had the run of the place. The terraces were wide and grassy and it is a great place to either stretch out in the warm sun or pose for pictures down into the valley. We could see one side of Machu Picchu mountain from here. Our time here felt like success. I think it also hit us that this was the beginning of the end for our time together as a group. Tomorrow would be the Last Day and we would part ways.
At dinner David told us that we would wake up at 3:15 because the chasquis had a 5:30am train to catch. We would be ready to go by 4:15 and would wait in line at the checkpoint in the dark from 4:30-5:30am. Weeee! Before we went back to our tents, we
needed to tip the chasquis. The .pdf document that we got from the tour company told us that the porters are well paid, but should be tipped. David told us that they would arrive after dinner as a group and that we would be expected to tip them and the cook and to make a speech in Spanish. Luckily, Sebastien was up to the speech task. Mike collected all the money and figured out how it should be divided; the cook was supposed to get 1.5x what the chasquis received. The ceremony of it all was nice. We each shook hands with all 20 of the porters and the cook and said "see you later" in Quechua, but the whole tipping thing was a little challenging and kind of uncomfortable. I think all of us would have preferred to pay more for the trip fee and just bypass the tipping think entirely.
Tot: 1.265s; Tpl: 0.111s; cc: 11; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0489s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb