Sunday, November 11, 2012

Machu Picchu!

The lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. 

It is so vast, so organized, so amazingly intact after five hundred years of existence. 
Even though no one was rushing us, and there was no threat of "missing it", our group had a surge of adrenaline and sense of unexplained urgency on our last day, Machu Picchu day. We woke up just before 3 am, stuffed our belongings into our packs, ate breakfast as fast as possible, and hurried along the trail in the dark - moving past sleepy travelers brushing their teeth in dim headlamp light - hoping to be the first group at the gate that marks the entrance to the park. Much to our surprise, we were. Once we settled in and claimed our place in line, we had 2 hours to kill before we could hike. So we did what any group of exhausted and decidedly unserious people would do - we made a shoulder massage circle! Unfortunately, I have no evidence of that. You'll just have to imagine it (!)

As soon as the gates opened and we were cleared to go, we took off. Took off along the trail like our lives depended on it. It was awesome. 

 {These are the "Gringo Killer" Steps. So steep I used my hands to climb them}
{Damp yet enthusiastic team! Imagine Machu Picchu in the distance, like we did. This is our Sun Gate Victory photo, as we were the first complete group to make it. If only those bystanders weren't loitering in the background, putting our victory into question...}

{Even the fastest Pumas need to stop for a few photos}

And then, suddenly, we arrived. I think we hiked for at least two hours that morning to get there, but I don't remember. The trail just stopped, opened up, and we were there. Amidst the clouds that rolled in and out, unluckily covering most of the view in the majority of our first photos. 
 {My dear sister and I, giddy with the joy of just being there}

Serendipitously, the clouds parted and moved away before we knew it - and a gorgeous Spring day emerged. Perfect for photographs.    
Jumping photographs. 


After we'd jumped sufficiently, Ruben took us on a tour. 

After our tour, we hiked Wayna Picchu. Because we just hadn't had enough hiking, exploring, adventuring. 

{and it was very, very, perilously steep}
{with a narrow cave and tunnel to squeeze through}

And once we arrived at the top, the view was simply breathtaking. 

{after climbing back down the mountain, we happened upon some more llamas!}

{and couldn't leave without taking a few more photos}

This trip was more than just a bucket list check off for me.

You see, this year hasn't been easy. Its had more than a few dark seasons, which gratefully, are over. I survived them. I grew tremendously in them. I'm grateful for them. But as it turns out, I desperately needed to be lit up with passion for life - and traveling does that for me. I came home with a big part of my soul rejuvenated, and with my sisterhood with my friend deepened and enriched. The timing was also very, very good, as October 22 was the two year anniversary of the day we applied to adopt our child/children. I remembered it in a solitary moment on the trail, choked back tears, and willed myself to focus on the positive. It was not difficult to do in such a beautiful place. 

My journey to Machu Picchu was glorious. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to go. 

So friends, if its not already on your list, you should add it. "Visit Machu Picchu, Peru, and hike the Inca Trail."





  1. Love your writing and I love Peru as well. It seems that after 5 trips there I still cant get enough of it.

  2. Thank you, Charles! It seems Peru has both of us in its charms. I hope to make it back as soon as I can.

  3. Caitlin,

    I did the Inca trail last week, Ruben was also our guide (surely the coolest man in the World). You wrote beautifully about it, I agree with every word, it is among the best things I have ever done.

    1. James, we are both so lucky to have had Ruben for our guide! He made the experience that much better. Thank you for the complement. I so loved Machu Picchu, its hard to imagine another experience topping it, isn't it?



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