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July 29th: 4th and final day on trail – 11km

We were woken up at 530am – or early as I told you —  to climb to the top of the campsite to watch the sun rise. Our Wawqi’s were up there waiting with hot tea. With..hot tea.It was a celebration that the hardest parts were over and we ONLY had a 6 hour trek DOWN to Machu Picchu. ONLY! And my feet and legs are barkin. I will never forget all of us being up there  – being together as a f-a-m-i-l-y and being alone in our thoughts at the same time – with new friends and old.  I continued to be blessed and surrounded in my life with people like these folks — crazy?  a bit.  Loving and kind — a lot.

Have I mentioned how much cocoa tea we had?  Oh and check out the wawqi’s headlamp holding the sugar.  I hope one of us left him ours.

Wait till you see this – 

We came down from tea and breakfast was waiting. We had our last breakfast el fresco and the cook made us quinoa pancakes with bananas and kiwi! What a treat and with maple syrup. They don’t have pancakes in Peru and they made it just for us.

This has to be my favorite picture and moment of our trip:

Today our destination was down to the Machu Picchu.  It would take us 5 hours through a vast set of Inca terraces full of swallows and orchids

Omar

Omar was all about the “MOUNTAIN”.  We loved him. He was so knowledgable about plants, birds and was always talking and learning from others.  He was also the one that would teach us about the traditional beliefs and you could feel the deep pride he had for his country and heritage.

Hey — Llama ahead! Yes, we were told to put our hiking poles on the right side and simply pass them.

They don’t call me a Llama Mama for no reason….

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If you look to the left of the picture in the middle you see some buildings.  Yes, that is what we need to get to for our lunch.

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But first navigating down the steps…

After another amazing lunch complete with jello.   This would be our last time we would be with our wawqi’s.  We had a thank you ceremony for them and shook each hand, thanking them for their service and presented them with a tip. It was such an honor to do so after seeming how hard they worked to make our experience seamless.

We said goodbye and started the final leg of the trip.  Chino had one more surprise for us.    We got to the Winaywayna sign and he had us look down to the right and face the mountain side.  He then had us all turn around at once to see this:

and this

Winaywayna

The name means “forever young” in Quecha. At this site, the Inca terraced the entire mountainside for growing food, and built a two-level complex connected by a cascade of fifteen baths. Since it is only 3miles from Machu Picchu it is thought that it was a  religious center.  The complex is divided into two architectural sections, with temples at the top and more rustic structures below. As many as 19 different springs carry water to various stone baths located at different levels throughout the characteristic Inca terracing.  We had a few moments to explore and experience the majesty like this pic —

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And then of course one of us had to make the most of it !!

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And 2 hours later we reached our destination.  We all stopped on the trail just before the Sun Gate – or Intipunku.  It is believed that this was some kind of control gate for the people who enter and go out of Machu Picchu.  It was a celebration thanks to Izzy for the chocolate. It was a first glance of the site.  If you are wondering what the zig-zag roads are that is the only way up to the site by tourists.  Yes, will tell you about the bus that we took to get down and up again on those roads.

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We would not be touring today but walking past it to get to a bus to take us into town where a shower and bed awaited. We were a bit bedraggled looking group and very pungent as we passed the tourists. A cold beer while waiting in the long line for the bus hit the spot. We took a crazy bus ride down the side of a mountain into town and found our hotel the High Classic. It was quaint and beautiful and most importantly had an elevator

 

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