This post will be more photo essay than essay, as we let the beauty of the mountains and valleys speak for itself.
Day 5–Everybody Lucmabamba!
As Day 5 dawned, and we prepared to trek from Colpapampa to Lucmabamba, we were sorry to say farewell to the breathtaking views from Colpa Lodge:
But we knew that more adventures awaited us!
The day’s trek was at a mercifully fairly relaxed pace, with lots of opportunities to take photographs. As we headed down the Santa Teresa river valley, the climate became hot and steamy and the vegetation more lush. Welcome to the jungle!
This part of the trek was a photographer’s paradise. We passed through coffee plantations and avocado orchards. Butterflies scattered across the path in front of us like rose petals:
Brightly coloured orchids and other exotic flowers seemed to pop up out of nowhere as if they knew a camera was nearby.
We upstaged waterfalls:
and dared to cross rickety wooden bridges:
After lunch, we were taken by van to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail, where we walked for about a half hour uphill on steps made by the Incas. It was surprisingly difficult due to the wide and uneven spacing of the steps. But an enterprising local vendor along the route made us laugh with his sense of humour:
We arrived at Lucma Lodge and were greeted with much-appreciated cold drinks. After a rest, we were all invited to a coffee roasting demonstration at a local coffee plantation.
After tasting coffee so strong we probably could have leaped over the Salkantay Pass in a single bound, we remedied our over-caffeination with a relaxing Pisco Sour in the Lodge. Another fantastic day!
Day 6–Getting into “Hot Water”
Time for another ominous music sound effect!
This day rivaled Day 3 for difficulty. We had to be on the move quite early in the morning as we had a lot of ground to cover and a hard deadline at the end of it–we had to be at the station to catch a train to Aguas Calientes–the last one of the day!
So, it was a day of hard climbing at a steady pace through humidity so high our glasses kept fogging. No dawdling to catch our breath, and not very much time to take photos. Much of the uphill was on steep Inca steps. We were literally using our trekking poles to haul ourselves up them. (For a race of short people, the Incas sure built high steps!) But as hard as it was, it remains one of my favourite days. Here we are trekking through the misty forests.
We started out with an uphill trek for about 3 hours towards the Llactapata Pass (at 8,974 ft or 2,736 m). We stopped for a rest and snack at the Llactapata Ruins.
It was there that we were able to get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu across the valley, appearing out of the parting mists like Brigadoon. From there we carried on to the top of the mountain pass. There was a fantastic restaurant there where we had a delicious lunch of fish and salads. From the Observatory, we were able to get a better view of Machu Picchu across the mountains.
After lunch we got a great group photo. Here we all are, tired but exhilarated, our great adventurous hike through the Andes about to draw to a close:
We started our descent down the mountain. It was especially tough, including a section which was aptly named “Gringo Killer.” But we survived! Although there was one further adrenaline-inducing challenge awaiting us:
After we crossed this harrowing bridge, it was a short walk to the train station.
We soon arrived at the stunningly beautiful Inkaterra Hotel in Aguas Calientes. If we have one regret about this trip, it’s that we weren’t able to stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes and spend extra time in Machu Picchu.
We went out exploring the colourful markets and shops along the streets near the hotel.
It was also Hallowe’en, and there were lots of little kids about, trick or treating.
Photos like this remind me that no matter where we live, we are more alike than we are different.
After a delicious dinner, it was time for an early night. We had to be up at the crack of dawn the next morning in order to get to Machu Picchu for our early morning tour. So excited! Sleep did not come easily!Follow us on social media: