Leza and John´s Adventure: The Inca Trail Day 3 and Day 4
The Inca Trail Day 3 and Day 4, review
This is the second part of Leza and John’s Inca Trail adventure. In another article Leza writes her testimonial about the amazing events on Inca Trail Day 1 and Day 2. Below you will find how the story continues: Inca Trail Day 3 and Day 4, ending with a big THANKS to Hiram Bingham.
INCA TRAIL DAY 3: FROM PACAYMAYO TO WINAYWAYNA
The third day was our longest day of hiking on the Inca Trail, off at 7am to Runcuracay at 13800 feet. Another very hot day with lots of Inca steps and amazing views. A few hours of rugged steep terrain, we came to a brief rest of the ruins of a temple before descending steeply for 2 hours to the magnificent ruins of Sayacmarca. We´d plenty of time to explore before a trek along the original stone path of the Incas, through the semi-tropical cloud forest to Phuyupatamarca, the third pass at 13600 ft. It was like something out of a film, with huge jungle plants and long vines dropping from the trees down into the jungle wilderness hundreds of feet below. You wouldn´t want to stray off the trail here as it was a long way down before you´d hit the bottom. For me this was probably the best part of the Inca Trail so far.
From Phuyupatamarca, our trip took us on a very long steep descent to our third camp at Winaywayna. The abilities of our group were showing now. John and I were flying on the descents – many weeks of carefully picking our Lake District walks with as many step-type situations as we could find had certainly paid off! After a very long day we arrived at 8829 feet at 530pm and it was great to take the boots off!
This was the most beautiful place by far. An hour later, the final four arrived with Ivan – who always stayed with the last members of the group. After the longed-for wet wipe wash, we had a few more steps to climb to the meal tent and a surprise 50th birthday cake the chef had prepared for one of the group – a very special treat for us all.
In fact, all the staff and porters were amazing. They worked so hard, never complain and are always so friendly and willing to help. This was the last time we´d really see them as we had to be up at 3am the next morning. Turning in for our last overnight camp, I felt a mixture of emotions – sad that our trip was coming to an end but elated we´d almost reached our goal.
INCA TRAIL DAY 4: FROM WINAYWAYNA TO MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO
We were up and wide awake by 3.30am but Ivan decided we´d delay leaving for the Sun Gate until 430am, by which time the crowd should have dispersed. Then, finally, we were off into the darkness, listening to all the animal sounds in the cloud forest, carefully making our way up towards Intipunku. Two hours later, after a bit more ´Peruvian flat´. We were at the Sun Gate. Walking through was a dream come true. I´d tried to imagine myself there many times but never really believed I´d be standing there with Machu Picchu below.
Machu Picchu was shrouded in mist with just the tip of the peak of Huayna Picchu peeking out, Ivan assured us the mist would lift and we´d get that magnificent view we´d all worked so hard to see and he was right. An hour later, the magical lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, appeared out of the mist. Words cannot describe it, truly one of the most magnificent wonders of the world. And then the mist was back, so off we set downhill.
Ivan gave us such an informative tour of the Lost City, we were mesmerized by his knowledge and detail. A truly wonderful guide, he´s been guiding for 32 years, leading 4 treks a month. It was evident he´d not lost his passion for the Incas and all they´d achieved.
What an amazing end to an amazing trip to Peru! We´d miss the shout of ´Porters! ´ as another came running by in his sandals, with his 25kg load. We´d miss dodging the odd llama. And we´d definitely miss our guides, the views, our new friends, and most of all, the whole experience.
We´re both so glad we chose this challenge. It was undoubtedly the hardest thing we´ve ever done and suffering from altitude sickness is not to be underestimated. I write this some 4 days after arriving home and I´m still suffering. I´ve also spent a day in hospital, under observation. If the trek hadn´t been for charity I may have just turned back but, being stubborn, I couldn´t do that. I´d made a promise to our sponsors that we´d complete the challenge, and complete the challenge we did. In the end, we made our target goal!
Every step was worthwhile and, for anybody interested in mountains and the history of the Inca People, this is a trip you should take. You won´t be disappointed. Trouble now is, what will our next adventure be and how will it top trekking to the Lost City of the Incas in Peru?
Thank you so much Hiram Bingham for bringing such a wonderful place to the attention of the world.