Today was a sheer delight, with walks through beautiful jungle, amazing mountain vistas, and more ruins. Although we were awakened at 5:30 am to frost covered ground, the dining tent was toasty warm. After another gourmet meal, we were on our way, with a mainly downhill hike, with an elevation drop of 1000 meters.
Waking up in the middle of the night, and looking up into the stars was absolutely breathtaking. With absolutely no light pollution, it was magical, with the milky way so prominent and beautiful. As my friend Sandi told me, this is truly one of the most spectacular parts of the hike.
The sights today were unbelievable, with varying micro climates, including the high jungle, snow covered Andes, and unbelievable beautiful waterfalls.
We finally reached one of the most beautiful sites overlooking an amazing waterfall and snow capped mountains. We were close to our final campsite even though it was only lunchtime so we were very excited.
Our team. Amazing trekkers, every one!
We arrived at camp to discover one of the very best parts of the hike; HOT SHOWERS! This is another special feature that Alpaca Expeditions offers, and shows the extra care and attention that they offer. They boil the water on the stove, then put it in a bucket with a hose, which they feed into a hole in the wall of an actual shower room. Since the shower is quite a distance from the camp, it takes a lot of work for the porters to run back and forth with buckets of water just so that we trekkers can enjoy this unspeakable luxury.
Marianne is really suffering with her cold, and although she did well on the trek today, she skipped lunch and collapsed into the tent for an afternoon nap. After our afternoon siesta, we went for a 5 minute walk to the most spectacular ruins that we have seen so far, Wiñaywayna, the temple of the rainbow.
This is an impressive site, with many stone buildings and a complete water system with cascading pools. According to our guide Reuben, Winaywana was used as a home for the Incan Emperor while he was waiting for Machu Pichu to be built.
The llamas also love it. Because the entire Inca Trail is parkland, they are protected by the government.
Once we returned from exploring the ruins, each of us was presented with a t shirt that says "I survived the Inca Trail" by one of the porters. This was such a significant thing for me that I almost started crying.
We came back from our short hike to our dinner tent all decorated with streamers and a beautiful cocoa cake with caramel icing decorated with strawberries. On the top it said, "Welcome to Machu Pichu" It's hard to believe that the trek is almost over, and although I will be really glad to sleep in a real bed tomorrow, to have a proper shower, and to go for a massage, I will be really sad to say good-bye to all the other trekkers, the porters, the cooks, and our amazing guides Reuben and Wilson.