Inka Trail to Machu Picchu - January 22 - 25, 2020
Machu Picchu - January 25
As my left knee was clearly overloaded from the 21 kilometer walk in 13 hours yesterday I decided to take the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu together with Valdizar.
The die-hards Kim and Park walked the 400 meters stairs together with Juan our guide and we met at the entrance gate at 8pm.
As we missed the last part of the Inka Trail from Winayhuayna through Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) we missed the view of Machu Picchu from above at sunrise. That was a pity but it didn't detract from the amazing architecture and location of Machu Picchu. We had a great tour with Juan as our guide to see the amazing place and hear about the knowledge the Inka's had so many hundreds of years ago.
After a lunch together in Aguas Calientes it was time for goodbye's and return to Cuzco.
By train to Ollaytantambo and by car to Cuzco where Kim, Park and I arrived at 8pm.
Inka Trail morning of day 3
Wake up and breakfast as planned and just before 6 am we are on our way for a long day first climbing up Runcuracay mountain to 3950 meters and then a long hike down to Aguas Calientes. We have to pass the rock slide area first and one by one we are guided by a trail official.
At places the trail is no more than 50 cm wide.
Not thinking about the tragedy that happened yesterday the scenery is great again with the trail going up steep from the campsite.
After Runcuracay the trail goes down very steep with rock stairs. Kim, Park and I descend together while Juan stays with Valdizar. On the way down we pass the Inca site Sayacmarca where we have to climb up for a visit. After that we pass the campsite Chaui Q'ocha where we were supposed to have camped last night.
Inka Trail afternoon of day 3
We have lunch at the 3rd pass and camp of Pyupatamarca where it rains heavely when we leave over a steep track down. As we have a long day to go we do not visit the Inca site just below the camp.
After we passed the camp Winayhuayna our porters pointed out the track that goes down to Rio Urubamba and Aguas Calientes. Constantly winding down between the trees with some views of the river slowly coming closer.
At some point after sitting on a rock I only managed to get back on my legs at the 3rd attempt. I have never been so tired in my live!
The last 5 kilometers along the railway track and Rio Urubamba were easier and I am happy we managed to arrive before dark.
Amazing how much better it felt after the 1st hot shower in 3 days!
Inka Trail to Machu Picchu - day 2
We wake up and have breakfast as planned and Valdizar has already left in front of us. There is a drizzle so we leave in raingear but after some time we are happy to take that off as the climb makes us warm. Like yesterday the views of the mountains and low clouds is fantastic. Valdizar reaches the highest top of 4215 meters even before us.
When we reach the campsite it is nice and sunny and the porters have spread out plastic on the wet ground to put on our backpacks. When we lay down in the sun they even bring out the matrasses while we wait for Juan and Valdizar to arrive and we have lunch in the tent.
Then we hear what sounds like fireworks but appears to be a rockslide on the mountain. Juan explains that the rocks are poreous, fill up with rain water and when that is heated by the sun the rock breaks and starts to fall down!
A little later a trail guard comes to get Juan and bring his firsat aid kit as it appears that a group of porters was hit on the trail by the rockslide. All groups have to stay where they are. When he comes back he tells us that one porter was killed and 2 injured (broken leg and shoulder). They are being carried on stretchers by porters from the other groups to a point where they can be picked up by a helicopter.
We will all stay at this campsite for the night and the trail officials will decide what will happen tomorrow. We neet to move a bit but Juan and the porters quickly setup our tents so we can relax. I spend the rest of the afternoon updating my diary and reading.
At dinner Juan is telling us that there have also been rockslides on the trail to and from the Sun Gate (no injuries) and the goverment has decided to close the trail. It means our 3rd day will be tough as we will have to continue what was planned for yesterday and then take an alternative trail down to the village of Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night in a hostel booked by the travel agent.
We go to sleep after lunch as wake up time tomorrow will be 4:45 am.
Inka Trail to Machu Picchu - day 1
Just when I finished my breakfast our tourguide Juan picked me up from my hotel in Ollaytantambo and we walked to the village square where the bus was parked. There I met my fellow hikers Kim and Park from Korea and Valdizar from Brazil. Also our porters and cook boarded the bus to ride to the trailhead.
After getting ready, passport and ticket control and trailhead pictures we finally crossed the Rio Urubamba to start our first day. I am feeling energized and exited that it finally happened! Seeing the mountains, the river, the trail and feeling the sun through the clouds! Shortly after we left we see the first Inca site on the other side of Rio Urubamba.
The first day is the easiest but the trail is slowly and steadily going uphill. Also the rain is slowly increasing from some drops to a steady drizzle and real rain. The lunch is kind of luxury in a tent with folding table and chairs. The cook prepares soup and 4 dishes for us.
After lunch the rain becomes less and stops so we can fully enjoy the trail and the scenery. We reach Wayllabamba village and the campsite is 200 meter higher up: the first steep part of the trail and it takes us just over one hour to the camp!
Our tents are already setup and we have dinner. Juan explains the plan for tomorrow:
5 am wake up with Coca tea, breakfast and leave at 6 for the toughest day on the trail.
Cuzco and the Sacred Valley - January 18 - 21, 2020
Miraflores - November 2019 and January 2020
First visit to Peru and Lima
In November 2019 we had a one week meeting with teams from Chile and Peru in Lima to decide on the proposed plans for implementation in both countries.
The meetings were in the Lima offices of the SGS Academy that are located in the Miraflores neighborhood where we stayed in a hotel.
Miraflores has a nice coastal front with a great park used by many people to exercise all times of the day. I did my morning cardio there as well as walks from the office back to the hotel.
Cuzco (above and right)
To get used to the high altitude of 3300 m I stayed in Cuzco 3 days with a guided tour on the first afternoon that took me to the first Inka sites (see above).
The other days, I walked, relaxed, enjoyed the great weather and food and practised with my new Nikon D5600 camera (right).
As I already experienced in Lima the food in Peru is both amazing and outstanding!
From this point I also like to mention my travel agent for a vacation that was superbly organized and executed!
Hiking in the neighborhood
As I was flying back home from Lima on the Saturday evening it gave me time during the day to walk to the Barranca neighborhood with old colonnial houses, a street that took me to the beach and back to the hotel after Ceviche for lunch.
Second visit to Miraflores
January 13th to 17th 2020 was the project kickoff in the SGS Miraflores offices. When the dates were confirmed in December 2019 I made arrangements to go on vacation after that week: Hiking the Inka Trail to Michu Picchu! This had been on my wishlist for so long.
As soon as I had the trailwalk confirmed I increased my hiking training but in the Netherlands hiking is easy: the highest hill we have are just over 200 meters and not so steep as the Andes mountains.
During the week in Miraflores I make 6km walks every morning going down to sea level and then going back up the stairs with 328 steps.
Also in the afternoon I walked from the office to the hotel.
Sacred Valley tour (right)
Doing this tour the day before the start of the trailhike was a good suggestion of my travel agent . By doing so I added another day to get used to the altitude and at the end of the tour spend the night in Ollaytantambo close to the trailhead.
The tour was interesting with great Inka sites to visit and great views of the Rio Urabamba that runs through the valley.
Also here I had a nice location for lunch and amazing food for dinner!