One day of biking, two days of hiking, three hours of zip line and four hours of walking alongside a train track later we were at the entrance, about to make our last trek up to the civilization hidden amongst the mountains.
It is 4:30am and we are waiting in a line of 100 people, only to be seen by the few with flashlights.
The family of stray dogs greets you and patiently waits as the security guards open the park. This is their morning routine. We are screened in and can begin our slow hike up the dark, large Inca steps. Every dog, including the stubby sausage dogs, eagerly marches past you, no breaks for water or panoramic views. No matter how difficult the elevation or incline, these furry friends were your trail cheerleaders, pushing you to push yourself.
Finally made it to the top to be among the first to enter for the day. We walked toward the first viewing point and it was truly jaw-dropping. The sun was rising, slowly hitting each ruin and warming our bodies like a blanket; we began to understand why the Incas worshipped this God.
Going through each section of their village was like a walk through time. I could only imagine what every hut was designed for, where the community bathing or eating was held, and how magnificent their scaling rows of vegetation were. The grounds have been emptied for centuries and yet the rock was still strongly pulsing with powerful secrets.
Were the Incas still alive somewhere? Perhaps they knew the land so well they were able to hide in the mountains all these centuries, inventing a new way of life. I couldn’t help but wonder and hope they were still around.
Spent a good four hour up there until we made our long trek back toward the end of the train station. Once at hydro-electrica we could finally rest. In a bus that would drive us six hours back toward Cusco. It was a long, completely worth-while trip and I was looking forward to the comforts of a moldly hostel bunk bed and luke-warm outdoor showers.
After all these days in the wilderness, I could fancy a solid ceviche in Lima, Peru.