Friday, December 23, 2011

The Inca Trek, Day Three: Pacamayo to Wiñay Wayna

The third day of the Inca Trail was the most interesting one, as there are many Inca ruins along the way (namely Runkuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata, Wiñay Wayna). All of these ruins were very interesting, each in its own way, so I decided that they deserved to be described in more detail, and I dedicated a separate post to each one of them. These posts will be appearing here during the next few days.

The ruins were not the only reason for which the third day of the Inca Trek was interesting. It was the longest day, during which we hiked 15 kilometers, and, for the most part, we walked on the original Inca pavement. We passed two tunnels carved into the rock, and we were surrounded by a magical cloud forest full of orchids, hanging mosses, ferns, and other flowers. Also the views from the trail were spectacular, especially from the top of the second (Abra de Runkuracay, 4,000 meters) and the third pass (3,700 meters). We could see the snow-capped Veronica (5,750m) and Salkantay (6,180m), and the valleys lying at their feet.

But, most importantly, all the ruins we saw along the way were reminding us that we were getting closer and closer to Machu Picchu. We were less than a day away from the culmination of our trip, and we were getting very excited about it. At the same time, we also felt quite peaceful—the beautiful nature has its calming ways. In fact, it calmed us down so much that we didn’t feel the need to wait till midnight to greet the New Year. And even the fireworks, which lasted for a good hour, didn’t motivate us to leave our warm tent, and join the festivities that were taking place at the nearby restaurant. By far, we felt much more excited about the following morning, and we wanted to get a good night’s sleep before the day we had been looking forward to for so long: New Year’s Day in Machu Picchu.

Happy-New-Year-Cake from our amazing cook and porters. Anybody have ever tried to bake a cake while backpacking?

On the last evening of the Inca Trek the porters joined us for the celebratory cake, giving us an opportunity to express our gratitude to them.