20220427: Machu Picchu
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20220427: Machu Picchu

Wednesday: Salkantay Trek Day 5

Today is so bittersweet. It all comes to a head, and ends abruptly. It feels like one of those movies where you reach the climax of the storyline and then it ends, leaving you sitting there not quite having fully processed the emotional rollercoaster you were on. Our entrance ticket to Machu Picchu was for 600, and I would have not believed how busy it already was right at opening time. The key is to get there early, before the heat of the day. I took a lot of notes throughout our time exploring, which fill the majority of this entry.
Clouds creeping below the mountains at dawn, the valley of Los Calientes felt very magical at this hour.
Clouds creeping below the mountains at dawn, the valley of Los Calientes felt very magical at this hour.
Machu Picchu
Machu = old
Pichu = peak
Huayana = young
This is one of my favorite views from the top, the river below and the extreme landscape: so unbelievably stunning.
This is one of my favorite views from the top, the river below and the extreme landscape: so unbelievably stunning.
The theory is that they escaped to the jungle and probably all died. Local people were destroying the old buildings up until the 1950s. Hyram came along and wanted to preserve it. There weren't bones everywhere, only in the cemetery. They took a lot of their important items. The buildings were only destroyed by vegetation, not the Spanish. Some buildings were restored 5-10% but no more after being named a new wonder of the world. Hyram arrived in Cusco in 1908. A year later he found Choquequirao.
Our first view of Machu Picchu!!!
Our first view of Machu Picchu!!!
There was an Andean family living in Mandor Valley that we walked through yesterday. Melchor Arteaga said he saw. Hyram paid one silver coin to Melchor
The same view as the picture above, but about an hour later
The same view as the picture above, but about an hour later
Machu Picchu has 4 different entrances
the sun gate from the Inca trail
two past huyana Picchu
The llamas of Machu Picchu.
The llamas of Machu Picchu.
Two families were living here when Hyram found it. A professor from Cusco, Augustine Aragasa(sp?), was maybe first.
"My grand grand grand father was not the first at Machu Picchu" book
There was a big open green space in the middle, which was unexpected, and where they would gather.
There was a big open green space in the middle, which was unexpected, and where they would gather.
Hyram named it vilcabamba (sacred plain)
most Andean people are small
he thought he found lots of woman
Windows and display shelves within a building all followed the slanted trapezoidal shape.
Windows and display shelves within a building all followed the slanted trapezoidal shape.
Layers within the terraces
One was sand from the coast
Angled walls for support from earthquake
Used as retaining walls
Terraces 2m wide or bigger for farming
Decoration
Laboratory for plants - 30 different terraces
Terraced gardens are a main staple of Machu Picchu. The walls of the terraces are also slanted, and not a perfect 90 degree angle.
Terraced gardens are a main staple of Machu Picchu. The walls of the terraces are also slanted, and not a perfect 90 degree angle.
Why so high?
Closer to gods
Protection
River goes all around mountain
Buildings built with sunrise and sunset orientation
A tree planted by Hyram Bingham, one of very few within the city limits.
A tree planted by Hyram Bingham, one of very few within the city limits.
None of the houses had doors. They were a very open and trustworthy culture, and had rules around robbery
1st time: cut off finger
2nd time: cut off hand
3rd time: deemed an illness to society and killed
It’s terraces all the way down.
It’s terraces all the way down.
It’s estimated that 18-20k people built Machu Picchu. It took a lot of time and passion.
Chacan - "Incan cross"
Viracocha - one god
Divided in two - duality of male and female
Gold - blood from the sun
Silver - blood from the moon
My same favorite view as the sky cleared.
My same favorite view as the sky cleared.
Three steps - Three lives
Condor - Hanan pacha
Puma - Kay pacha
Snake - Ukhu pacha
Heading back to Los Calientes for lunch.
Heading back to Los Calientes for lunch.
Cusco attractions - book reference
Chica - Acca in quechua
A last relaxing meal along the river before heading back to Cusco.
A last relaxing meal along the river before heading back to Cusco.
After our time at Machu Picchu we hiked back down (we had taken a bus to get up there). It was a celebratory “last hike” and took us an hour. The past few days were lots of downhill so we really put our legs through the ringer. We had some time before we had to get on the train, so we enjoyed a nice meal and drinks before heading on the train.
Sergio was only a bit exhausted.
Sergio was only a bit exhausted.
From the train we got onto the bus to head back to Cusco. We arrived after sunset but had yet to eat dinner. We were all quite exhausted and had trouble finding a place to eat. We ended up going back to Allenby, the Israeli restaurant that we went to on my first day.
Heading to dinner with Loes and Wouter.
Heading to dinner with Loes and Wouter.

Day 5 Numbers

Distance Walked Today: 8.9 mi
Total Distance Walked: 55.49 mi
Maximum Elevation: 7,972 ft
Hotel Elevation: 6,693 ft