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Published: January 29th 2016
Pedro and Lori at the top of Waynapicchu
(Late posting as the internet was down at Machu Picchu)
We got up early to climb Waynapicchu today. We had a very nice breakfast at the Sanctuary Lodge and as we were already at the gate we did not have to get up as early as most who are going to climb Waynapicchu. The morning was fairly cool and overcast. We were in the first group of 200 allowed to climb Waynapicchu at 7 a.m. Only 2 groups are allowed up per day and we had purchased our ticket when we were in Cusco. The lady that had arranged our train, park and bus tickets had gotten our Waynapicchu tickets online and she had said we got the last 2 openings for the tickets. At the gate you have to sign in, record the time you are entering and show your passport with your ticket to verify your entry. The process of going in takes a bit, so the group is fairly well spread out on the way up. We started our way up at 0745. The hike up was very steep up rock stairs and much of it was very narrow allowing only one way traffic.
We were about ¾ of the way up when some of the earliest from the 7 a.m. group were passing us on their way down. The view from the top was amazing and worth the hike. There was a main viewing area where most people were stopping to take pictures. From there we passed through a small cave to climb onto the rocks at the top. There was only room for about 15-20 people at a time on the rocks. There were a few prime spots to take pictures. We had to climb out and then have someone take our picture. We then switched spots and took pictures for some of the other visitors. Pedro is definitely getting braver with his fear of heights. The climb had been very difficult and narrow and a really good picture was the souvenir for the hike. Next, it was time for the climb down the back side of the rocks. This was more difficult than coming up. There was another nice overlook on the back side that was mainly looking down the back of the valley. A few more pictures here where the drop was straight down. Next we went around the side
of the mountain through a small ruin building. We started our hike down. Every step was carefully placed and, if available, we used the cables that were there to hang on . We took our time and took frequent breaks. The sun had come out by now and it was getting very warm. We were happy that we had climbed in the first group. We started passing the 10 a.m. group when we were nearly back.
We went back to the Sanctuary Lodge for a short break. We had some Sprites at the Hotel bar. We then checked out of our room. The Sanctuary Lodge staff arranged for our larger bags to be sent down to Casa del Sol, our hotel in Aguas Calientes, where we were staying the next night. The service at Sanctuary Lodge was excellent and despite the price it was worth it.
We went back into the park for the afternoon and started the hike towards the Sun Gate on the other end of the park from Waynapicchu. This hike was on a fairly wide stone paved path that compared with the hike in the morning was relatively slowly inclining upwards compared to Waynapicchu.
"Pedro, move to your right more so I can get you in the picture."
It was still very noticeably steep the whole way. We kept a slow steady pace and took a rest break at one of the smaller areas of ruin on the way to the Sun Gate. It was very warm in the afternoon, but most of the way up we were in the cover of shade from the overgrowth. There were a few sets of stone stairs as we approached the Sun Gate. It was another amazing view of the grounds of Machu Picchu, and in the distance Waynapicchu. Unlike Waynapicchu, the Sun Gate was not crowded. There was only a handful of other visitors that were enjoying the view. We took some pictures and enjoyed the view. The way down was slow and steady. After several hours of hiking already completed, it was much more difficult on the stone paved way down. Every step was carefully thought out and planned. Which of the rocks looked big enough for a size 12 shoe? It was more difficult if the whole foot would fit on the stone. Placing the foot half way between the rocks on 2 different stones was uncomfortable and the fatigue in the ankles was very noticeable if you
were slightly off. Pedro was more concerned about the steep drop offs on the side of the path that he had not noticed on the way up. The path was relatively wide compared to the morning hike, but in the open areas where there was no overgrowth the drops down were very evident. There were several spots where it was nearly straight down. We slowly made our way down back to the main ruins.
Pedro has been wanting to get close to the Alpacas since we got to the ruins. We made our way to the central area where the Alpacas work hard to keep the terraces looking well-manicured. He found several of them that he could get close to so he could have his picture with the Alpacas.
After 2 days at Machu Picchu we decided we had seen it all. We stopped at the snack shop just outside the gate for water and a snack. We got in line to catch the bus down the mountain. It was bus 13. We heard that 13 is not an unlucky number here and as we are not superstitious we really didn't care. We were ready to head down.
We bounced our way down. The phrase “drive fast, take chances” is a good way to describe the ride down. The buses barely fit on the narrow road and usually one of the buses came to a stop when they passed each other.
We checked in at Casa del Sol after a short walk the wrong way down the 3 block street of hotels that are between the railway and the river. Our room was on the river side of the hotel. The windows opened up and there was a full view both ways down the river from a small glassed in sitting area. The view across the river was a cliff face that went straight up.
The internet in Aguas Calientes is still out from the storm. This will be posted once we are back in Cusco.
Tot: 2.438s; Tpl: 0.083s; cc: 10; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0408s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb