Day 7 Machupicchu and Wanupicchu

After 6-days of appetizers, today it was finally entrée day. Jessie had suggested a change to the itinerary, and instead of squeezing Machpicchu in yesterday, and then for those that wanted to pay and go up again today for another 3-hours, we'd leave early today.

So we were up at 5am, breakfast at 5.50, and down to the bus for a 7am start at Machupicchu, giving us one 5-hour session instead of 2-shorter ones.

It was well worth it. Absolutely stunning. Although Machupicchu is 3000ft lower than Cusco, it was high-up on top of a mountain, topped off with light fluffy clouds. The bus ride took 30-mins and once inside the two dimensional pictures don't do it justice.
From Peru Trip

Jessie took us around for 2-hours and was outstanding. While much of the detail could probably be found in guide books, actually finding it in Machupicchu would be another. For example there is one giant stone that has 26 angles/corners cut into it. I also would have missed the condors wings in the stone ceremonial, it was just that the Incas had built these things and a whole city 8000ft up a mountain, it wasn't the design on such a grand scale, it was the attention to detail.

From Peru Trip

One of my favorites was the short set of 8-steps, all cut from a single huge piece of granite. Each angle of each step perfectly cut, perfect shape and still not worn after all these years.

We headed back to the entrance as a group, and then it was 2-hours free time. Wanupicchu is the lookout or security settlement on the next mountain, jessie said it was 90-mins up and back. Allowing for a 10-minute rest and pictures at the top, I would barely have time.

I checked my backpack at the gate, took my water bottle and camera and set off at jogging speed through Machupicchu. At the entrance to Wanupicchu there was a sign that said '400 per day only on Wanupicchu'. We had to register, name, country, age and time in. A quick scan from numbers 150-267(me) revealed I was 2nd oldest, there was a 52yr old somewhere ahead of me.

It was stunningly difficult going up in places, although it couldn't be classed as climbing, in a number of places you had to lift one leg as high as the other knee to get up the next step. There were plenty of people giving up and going back. I ran where I could, jumped between rocks where I could and only got held up in 'traffic' a couple of times.

Up near the summit, there was a small Cavern you had to got through, it required pretty much bending double, and crawling up the last two steps.

On emerging it was a sight to see. A complete road block, almost no where to sit or stand. I'd come up with a young guy, he overtook me at one of taffic jams, but not much further. We found an open area and exchanged cameras.
From Peru Trip

The view of Manchupicchu from on top Wanapicchu.
From Peru Trip

I was dripping with sweat and still breathing heavily. I'd gone up the best part of 1000ft in 31-minutes. I sat quietly people watching, eat a cliff bar, drank my water and after 15-mins rest, I started back down.

The early part of the decent was tough, way too many people and much harder to make progress because of the steepness of the steps. However before long I was bouding down the steps, left foot first, two steps at a time. Downtime: 32-mins.

It will be fun to look at the Garmin output, sadly I didn't wear the HRM strap, but I expect I was >90% MAXHR for 95% of the time.


nice photos!
Great, Mark - congrats on the achievement. I like your t-shirt, too! :-)

It's so green there... starting to brown up here already.

Re: nice photos!
thanks, those are just cellphone pictures, not such good qaulity... I'll post some better ones behind a lj cut once I get home.

Please leave firstname or initials, so I have some clue on bwhere its brown already ;-)
Re: nice photos!
oh duh -- it's me, Pegggggy in California. :-)