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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Machu Picchu (Day 3)

Day 3: Pacaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Distance: 9.94 miles/16 km
Maximum Elevation: 12,792 ft/3,900 m
Campsite Elevation: 8,692 ft/2,650 m

Day 3 was pretty brutal. When everyone told me that Day 2 is the worst of it, I half expected Day 3 to be a cake walk. Nope, we had to cover 16km today's not flat. So up the mountain we went, visited a ruin and again went upwards to see some small ponds, then we got to another mountain pass with incredible views (~2 hours for me).

Then everything that we gained in elevation, we lost by going downwards for another 2 hours. There was a gigantic ruin here which involved some steep steps to get to. We were starving by then but this was not our rest stop - luckily the porters packed us a lollipop and a halowe'en size candy bar. (NOT...ENOUGH...FOOD!) After visiting the ruin, we had to go down to another ruin, and up through the Cloud Forest.

Ok, the Cloud Forest was pretty cool where it was obvious that the microclimate had completely changed. Humidity and low hanging clouds produced this mystical rainforesty type place with cool vegetation and hummingbirds. Poor legs and tummy of mine, I took in the scenery as much as I could while trying hard to rush through to the lunch site. It must have been another 2-3 hours before I made it to lunch - but the views were definitely rewarding! We could see Aguas Caliente in the distance...which means we're close!!

After lunch we visited another cool ruin with shower stall ruins. (I wish there was a real shower stall). We learned more about how amazing the Incans were at engineering, astrology and running their community. Then it was our last 3 hours down to get to the camp site. This is where I finally learned that I had more of a core than I thought. I ditched my poles to Freddy (the assistant tour guide), gave Mel my camera and started to run down down the stone steps. It's not bad, we picked up our pace and had quite a work out flying down the mountain. Well, flying is a bit of an exaggeration, haha I kinda wish Mel took a video of how awkward my "flying" must have looked. (The next day my legs and abs were mucho hurting)

We made it to our final camp site in time for sunset! (and POPCORN - which I seem to reeeally enjoy after a good days work of hiking). We opted to not pay for a luke warm shower since it was down a hill and I couldn't walk another step. Plus we smelled already so whats the difference to wait another day. That night the porters baked us a cake and we fell asleep at 8pm to wake up at 4am! In contrast to the previous night all I wore was a tshirt and didnt even zip up my sleeping bag this night.

Day 3 definitely had the nicest variety of hiking and ruins and vegetation. I thought it couldn't be beat...until I woke up!

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