Machu Pichu, memories of a great journey - Part 2: The experience
The hike was moderate to advance but you can go at your own pace. We had 6 people in our group, 3 of who are experienced hikers and went at a brisk pace while the other 2 kept a more casual pace and took time to snap lots of photos.
The views were absolutely beautiful, glacial mountain tops, both fluffy and misty clouds, dark skies to clear blue skies, a variety of animals: sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, guinie pigs, alpacas, lamas, chickens, lagoons, waterfalls... so much nature. The elevation can be physically challenging but if you decide to mentally overcome it, you can push through the physical easier. Coca tea is helps with altitude sickness and is a warm tasty treat in the cold weather.
We finished the 3rd night of our Lares trek at Aguas Calientes. Most people take the bus up to Machu Picchu but we decided to do a 4:30am hike to make it in time to be the first ones to walk through the gate at the opening of 6am. The hike is about an hour and a half, 90% steps and very challenging but rewarding because you have to push yourself physically and mentally.
Stop to enjoy the scenery on the way up and take breaks when needed. Bring water and plenty of snacks for the day because it is more expensive to buy food/drinks there. If you hike up, bring an extra shirt to change into for when you get there for you will definitely work up a sweat. The only Bathroom is at the entrance and costs 1 soles.
We paid extra to hike Huayna Picchu, a must do sinchow long stay in cusco peru, things to do in peru, what to do in cusco, what to do in peru, where to stay in cuscoe you are already there and just another great perspective of the amazing ruins. You can expect lots and lots and lots of steps of all sizes that circle all the way to the top where you can get a full view of Machu Picchu.
When we got to the top it was raining, cold but amazing. There were countless times were I wanted to just hop on a mule and ride my way up the mountain and NOT climb another darn step. But pushing through those mental blocks and taking a moment to enjoy the present was an important lesson to not getting too carried away with the next step and keep the past, present, and future in balance.
Read more: Taking the Train to Machu Pichu
I have an profound appreciation for the Inca people as their work attributes to the immense patience and dedication they had to building a community that to this day people from all over the world come to admire.