Machu Motherfucking Picchu

Once we were done taking too many pictures at the Sun Gate, we completed the final 45 minutes of our hike to Machu Picchu. This would only a short visit to celebrate our triumph over the Inca Trail, as we were returning the next day to explore the city in full.

As we walked along the side of the mountain, the city gradually expanded in front of us. This was not just another ruin; in fact, every ruin we had seen until now could have easily fit inside Machu Picchu several times over. Whereas the largest ruin we had seen previously could probably have supported a few dozen people, Machu Picchu could easily have been home to over a thousand. What makes this all the more incredible was where it was located. You could not have picked a more remote location to build a city, at the top of a mountain, with the city walls going right up to the edges of the surrounding cliffs. And yet the Incas had managed to tame the mountain, using long terraces and intricately carved stone aquaducts to allow the inhabitants to grow crops where none should have been.

I spent a total of around 6 hours exploring the city, and even so did not see all of it. I could talk about the beautiful stone work, the detailed civil planning, the theories behind why the city existed in the first place, but there are much better resources for all of that (in particular the book “Turn Right At Machu Picchu” by Adams is a great travelogue that tells the stories of the Incas, Hiram Bingham, and the author). My own trip was as much about the journey as the destination, and Machu Picchu would not have been as special for me had I not hiked the trail to get there. It was also very much enriched by the great group of travel partners I went with, none of whom I knew beforehand, but who were all great companions for sharing copious amounts of sweat with. Anyway, that’s more than enough hyperbole for now; here’s more pictures!

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~ by kilbasar on February 3, 2013.

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