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Today was our 3rd and final day at Machu Picchu. It was very very smart of us to pay the crazy hotel costs to stay up top. 5am this morning I poked my head out of the window to see if the sunrise was worth it. It wasn't. Weather was much better than yesterday but I got another 3 hours sleep. Instead we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and headed into Machu Picchu around 9am. Way more crowded but we really didn't care. We had already seen most of what we wanted to see. All that was left was the Sun Gate and a few shots we wanted to re take.

Since we looked cleanish we decided to reshoot the Caretaker Hut shots. And the sun was stronger than a couple days ago to make the colours stand out better.

A panorama shot.

The walk up to the Sun Gate is all up. And we went past the actual gate. So now that if anyone asks if we did the Inca Trail we can say yes. Ok, only 40' worth but we did it 😉

The views up the trail are pretty spectacular.

Sun Gate

Us on the Inca Trail.

This is the “Big Mountain” across the valley. I can't remember the real name but it's important.

An interesting rock. I'm sure it was important but I don't know for what. And if you've ever seen Lion King…..

We also stopped at the Guard Hut which is on the top of the main hill. The Inca could see and guard the whole place from up there. Since we “closed the place” the last couple days I noticed the current park staff use the same spot to make sure all the tourists are gone. There are staff placed throughout the site and we were herded/swept towards the gate each day. Kind of reminded me of when I used to Ski Patrol on Grouse and at the end of the night we had to sweep the runs to make sure all were gone.

The actual hut.
The view from the hut.
And the quarry I mentioned yesterday. Shot from the Guard Hut.
A panorama shot from here too. It was just that nice a view.

We went back to room, had a nice shower and planned on leaving at 1. We understood we had a late checkout (it's at 11). At noon Housekeeping showed up. Oops they thought we were gone. Thank goodness we were almost ready to walk out the door. 14 minutes later we were. 1 minute before I promised. Then it was time to hop the bus back to Aguas Calientes. The ride down was just as fun as up. This time we scored a front row seat. So I snapped some photos and a couple videos which I'll share later as they won't seem to import tonight.

Around a corner.

A wide part where buses pass.
Rock slide from January this year.
No passing lane here. Kind of friendly chicken. We lost this round and backed up.

Lunch was beside the Urubamba river. Wood fired pizza was very very tasty. The river is the in all valley shots from the last couple days posts. Interestingly you can't see Machu Picchu from Aguacalientes town. It's around the corner of the mountain and up the “back”.

Then it was time to hop the train to Cusco. Same Vistadome as we came up on. Great views.

Since tomorrow we are off to the jungle it was time to start Malarone, the anti malaria drug. We find it very ironic that Kris works for Preventitive Health yet her plan won't cover the preventitive drug. Yet MSP would cover the recovery which has to cost 100x the drug. Oh well, I digress.

We arrived after dark into Cusco and now it's time to say goodbye to the Inca. Tomorrow we fly off to Porto Maldonado where we start the animal portion of our trip. We head up the Madre de Dios river to a couple of research stations. Tomorrow is a 2.5 hour boat ride then the day after another 4 hours. We start from the edge of nowhere and go deeper! Hopefully lots of parrots, anteaters, monkeys and maybe a jaguar or two. Downside is that we likely won't have any internet. I will continue to write daily but likely you won't hear from us until we reach Port Maldonado again in 5 days. Then it will be a torrent of blogs.


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