I’ve been dreaming of hiking the Inca Trail and seeing Machu Picchu for the better part of three decades. Ever since I first saw photos of it in National Geographic as a young girl, I’ve felt a strong connection to this place, as if a small part of what defines me has always been connected to these stone buildings, these mountains, and the customs of the Inca.
For me, like so many others, hiking Camino Inka was more than a walk in the mountains. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, a trek to my own personal version of Mecca, sacrificing my time, my energies, & my body on this spiritual (& physical) journey of self-discovery and, in many ways, homecoming.
I think that really good travel adventures are made up of several key elements. They challenge you, leave time for introspection, introduce you to new things & teach you things about the world and people and yourself that you didn’t know before. Good adventures leave you awestruck, humbled, inspired, passionate, & empowered. Trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu provided all of these things and more.
We trekked 42 km in just over 3 days. Elevations on the trail ranged from 2,400meters to 4,200 meters, including a 1,200 meter elevation gain immediately followed by a 600 meter descent on day 2. We crossed over 4 mountain passes & saw glaciers, cloud forests, cactus, wildlife, and loads of ruins along the way. We met and hiked with so many amazing, fun, and interesting people, many of whom we consider friends and will stay in touch with. We camped each night under clear skies with a million stars, and hiked to the Sun Gate by the light of the full moon very early on the final morning, arriving in time to watch the sun creep along the mountain and hit the sun dial.
Here are some photos from our time on the trail. We’ll be back soon with a more in depth recap of our days on the trail.
My parents arrive tonight and we’ll be traveling with them in Ecuador for the next 2 weeks. But we promise to update more frequently.