Runkurakay Pass

So the high point (physically) of day 3 on the Inca Trail is Runkurakay Pass — with views just as good as Dead Woman Pass had, but not nearly as painful to get to.  Just before the pass, the trail winds between two small hanging lakes (I haven’t been able to find any reliable names for them).  First, we’re looking uphill / west across the lower / larger of the two (you can see some of my hiking buddies on the trail above it to the right).

Looking up to Runkurakay Pass

In this next shot, we’re at the pass and looking to the east. Continue reading

Little house on the Urubamba

This is Salapunku, the first ruin you’ll see on the first day of a 4-day Inca Trail trek.

Salapunku

It was located next to a canal, so may have been involved in administering water from it.  Otherwise, from what I can uncover, it was just a little Inca farm town.

It now overlooks the rail line to Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu Pueblo — so any local ghosts don’t get much rest these days.

The Inca Trail: and so, it begins

Every journey has to begin somewhere.  Since travelers on the Inca Trail are fairly tightly controlled of late, a journey on the Inca Trail starts at a checkpoint.  In this case, the checkpoint at the km 82 marker (measured from Cusco — possibly along the river, or possibly along the rail line, I never asked).

First checkpoint

Continue reading

A profile of the Inca Trail

Before I hiked the Inca Trail, I naturally did the modern thing and consulted the font of wisdom that is the Internet.  Quite a few sites talked about the cardiovascular challenge of the trail, the risk of altitude sickness, etc.  Before I hiked the trail, though, I didn’t appreciate how helpful resistance training would have been.

The normal brief description of the 4-day approach to the trail goes something like this:

  • Day 1 — warm-up
  • Day 2 — painful climbing
  • Day 3 — a little climbing, but mostly down-hill
  • Day 4 — smooth sailing into Machu Picchu

This is generally accurate, but an over-simplification.   Continue reading

25 prohibitions

So I recently returned from a trip to Peru — including a hike along the Inca Trail, a good chunk of time spent in Machu Picchu, even more time spent in Cusco, all sorts of good things.  I plan on writing up a number of blog posts on things I saw and experienced — but first thought this might be helpful to future Machu Picchu visitors (it’s a sign at the entrance, laying out 25 things you may not bring to / do in the site):

So many rules...

Bottom line — there’s lots of inaccurate information online w.r.t what is and isn’t allowed into / at the site of Machu Picchu.  So, since the above text is a bit small, here’s the posted list of restrictions (as of May, 2018), along with my comments on them: Continue reading