Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Machu Picchu - its time for me to make my way down into city center, descending the rocky stairs connecting terrace to terrace. A quick glance over my shoulder has me staring back up at the Guard’s House.
A few more steps down and a few more terraces later, the scenery changes again.
With the Guards House in the far distance, the vastness of this city takes on another dimension. The amount of rocks stacked upon one another on terrace after terrace just boggles my mind!
To the very, very far left of this photo where the sky meets the mountain (this mountain is THE Machu Picchu) is where the Sun Gate is located. You can hike up to that point but the majority of hikers are actually coming down from that point as part of their two or four day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. Although we never did hike that trail, I’ve seen plenty of photos from hikers who have done the Inca Trail and it looks like a trek that should be done, if you ever get the chance! If you look closely, you can see a path carved into the side of that mountain reaching from the Sun Gate down to this ancient city.
A closer look at Sun Gate - many hikers time their hike to coincide with the sunrise on their final morning and descend into Machu Picchu. I’m sure it would be a spectacular sight!
Looking to the north, you see the near vertical slopes of Huayna Picchu (Wayna Picchu) which, in the Quechua language means Young Peak, rising above the city. The Incas built a path up the side of the mountian, complete with temples and terraces at the top. Huayna Picchu is around 8900 feet (2700+ meters) above sea level and almost 1200 ft (360 meters) above Machu Picchu. These days, only a maximum number of tourists (I think around 400) are allowed to climb the Huayna Picchu trail to the top so one has to get there very early in the morning to get that chance. We arrived early that morning but not near early enough. Again, having seen other photographers photos and videos of the climb and views from above make it a spectacular trek if you get the chance! The trailhead begins next to the two huts located at the base of Huayna Picchu.Spectacular ruins jut out from the mountain edges and peak of Huayna Picchu.An even closer look at the terraces and structures precariously perched on the edges of Huayna Picchu.Back in the Lost City of the Incas, as one descends the terraces from the south, you pass through the Main Gate into the city. I passed through before I realized that I hadn’t taken a photo so here I am glancing back at the Main Gate - notice a peculiar shaped rock pertruding from just above the center of this gate - perhaps a locking mechanism of sorts?
Just inside the Main Gate (aka City Gate) is considered the Upper Building Complex - the main housing area of the city.Looking east, the Sun Gate is barely visible (center of photo) with the trail cutting its way down the side of Machu Picchu. From this view, the expanse of terraces are evident. Granery (storage) huts visible at bottom left. More exploring The Lost City of the Incas coming in next post.
Day 6 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour