I went to Machu Picchu in January, so now I will tell you a little about my experience. I went for Charles' bachelor party, and it was tons of fun. I don't think I'll be able to capture even half of what the trip was like, so you'll just have to take what you're gonna get. If you want to learn about Machu Picchu's history, click here.
For context, here's a list of attributes that don't apply to me:
- Physically fit
Now for my traveling principle:
- Ultimate comfort
- This is more of a lifestyle than traveling style
We trekked the Inka Trail for four days to reach Machu Picchu. For most, you'll want to take the hourlong train ride straight there, and you could tell who did by their clean shoes and smiles. The only hikes I had done previously were in Kananaskis and Johnston Canyon, so I was in over my head a bit. I also forgot that I'd be carrying a sleeping bag and mattress, so I packed a little more than I should have. I didn't own any hiking boots prior to departing from YYC, so I had to buy some off Kijiji which I still haven't been able to sell. Rookie mistakes. If you go, definitely get a porter or two, who are worth their weight in greenbacks.
For the few that have traveled with me so far in this life, I think they generally hated being around me even before the trip, so Charles and the groomsmen hated me more afterwards if that's even possible. I believe this also applied to our trekking group. I'm just kidding -- everyone loves me all the time. The people in our trek group were awesome. We had the greatest tour guides in Inka history from Peru Treks, Willie and Augusto. You'd also worry that out of 14 strangers, there would be enough people to ruin it for the rest of us, but that wasn't the case. It was fun getting British drunk with them afterwards in Cusco. Amazing human beings, and the most Brits I've seen traveling at once, who I thought were Australian at first. I blame the thin air. It's funny how you encounter certain other groups and characters on the Trail, despite its length and the differences in pace. I kept seeing this one guy in a fedora. What a douche bag.
The weather in the Peruvian mountains is nuts. We hiked just before wet season hit hard, so the forecast was supposed to be gloomy, rainy, and overcasty all four days. People in Canada like to joke about seeing four seasons in a day, but the struggle is real in Peru. Luckily, we did see sun for two and a half days, so that was pretty ballin'. The elevation is also much greater than what we're used to (2430 m vs. 1045 m)/(7972 ft vs. 3438 ft). Shortly after landing in Peru, you noticed a tingling sensation in the extremities and shortness of breath from doing basic activities. I'm usually out of breath from stairs or a hearty meal anyways, but I just did it more in Peru. Since we were only there for a week, breathing the thinner air meant popping pills and sipping coca tea to control the spins. I'm in love with the coco. Latin America is pretty out of scope for me travel-wise, as is sunscreen. I developed a pretty serious farmer/beater tan, and I also lost a layer of ear to the raging sun. I should have brought my rice hat. It was interesting hiking and switching outfits mid-day. Each hike started early in the morning, and we usually took a break shortly after starting, during which I would remove my base layer. More rookie mistakes.
The Inka Trail is paved with stones, and each year the Trail is shut down for maintenance and clean up. (Coke bottles on the foot paths of an ancient civilization? Seriously?) I felt like I was living in Temple Run. Not sure if I just land hard on my feet or what, but I found the trick was to run from the pain almost like those exercises football players do with tires. Good thing I remembered all that X-Stretch from P90X because that really helped to keep me moving. I don't think I've ever experienced such intense physical pain in my life, so I'm quite proud of finishing the hike.
All those struggles only enhanced the beauty of Machu Picchu. Then I realized why I got laser eye surgery, which I still need to write about. I don't feel like writing anything else, so here are my favourite photos.