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Inca Trail Trek, Day 3

In Peru, continuing our trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This post covers our adventures and misadventures of the third day along the route.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

We’re in Peru, continuing our journey along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This post covers the third of a four day trek. Get caught up here with Day One and Day Two of our Inca Trail Trek.

From the the website of our trekking company, Llama Path (Day #3):

“This is the most impressive day (in our opinion!!!) so just keep thinking of that on the ascent on day 2! Again we wake up for breakfast at 6am, and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’ (meaning ‘Town in the Clouds’) and to reach the third highest point on the trail (3680m)). The views from here of the mountains, canyons and surrounding area are spectacular.

“The Inca site, ‘Phuyupatamarca’, is located a few minutes walk from the third pass and after visiting this, we continue walking down (3000 steps!) through the cloud forest and the impressive agricultural Inca site of ‘Intipata’ until we arrive at our third campsite Wiñay Wayna (2680m/8792ft). Today we have only walked about 4 to 5 hours and have arrived to camp by lunch time!

“A short distance from this campsite is located the Inca site of the same name ‘Wiñay Wayna’ (‘Forever Young’). Even if you are tired after your day’s trek, don’t miss out on visiting the most impressive site on the trail.

Temperature during the night is around 12º C”

Inca Trail Trek Day Three
Day 3 Start:Chaquicocha
Day 3 End:Wiñay Wayna
Day 3 Elevation:11,800 ft. to 8,792 ft.
Day 3 Distance:10 km (5 hours)

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Sunrise from Chaquicocha camp.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
Our group’s team of Llamapath porters finally formally introducing themselves on Day #3.

Early on the morning of the third day, we finally learn a bit more about our porters including Sebastian, our guide Julian’s right-hand man, and our amazing 24-year-old chef.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Hiking through the “Cloud Forest” on the third day was awesome, perhaps our favorite day of the trek. Our guide, Julian, told us that we were very fortunate on this particular day to be able to see great views in the cloud forest, given that it was remarkably clear and well, usually cloudy.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Still trekking with a snotty, snotty cold and keeping the Peruvian equivalent of Kleenex in business.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

One of the many reasons for being our favorite trekking day – all of the unique and colorful flora along the cloud forest trail.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Brass discs along the trail marking the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

The gang taking in the view.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Stepping aside on a narrow section of trail to let the Llama Path porters pass (say that ten times fast!).

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Pausing just before climbing in and down and through a small cave/hole in the rock on the trail.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
At the level of the clouds in the cloud forest — morning pit stop.

The entire morning was like walking through a dream…made painfully real by the 2,000+ steps we would eventually have to descend later that same day.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

The hustle and bustle of porters and trekkers at the morning snack break stop.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Snack time! By the way, these are really good cookies (chocolate Rellenas).

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Phuyupatamarka…better hope that one never comes up on your kid’s spelling test.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Alright, fun’s over…time to start walking down some steps…and by some, we mean a couple thousand of course!

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

About an hour into descending hundred and hundreds of steps just like these, I began to rethink my sentiments regarding Inka engineers considering the very real possibility that they may have been one of the more sadistic groups ever to grace God’s good Earth. What did my knees ever do to you!!!

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Finally, a nice place to…stand?

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Is that Lori on…stairs?

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Ah, but quite possibly the third best thing about Day 3…an afternoon of relaxation! After five hours of ambling through cloud forest and descending down a couple thousand evil stairs, we reach Yunkapata (aka Intipata) and take time to take in the vibrant colors and the incredible view!

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

After Yunkapata, it’s on to our destination, Wiñaywayna (below).

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Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Lori and Kaylee (left) admiring the Inca’s precise stone work — notice the gaps. Don’t see them? That’s cause there are none.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

As the sun began to set, Lori and I had to make a decision between taking our first showers in nearly 4 days or…beers. Choices don’t get much easier than that, my friends.We passed the long line for the showers and found the beer cashier, sitting behind plexiglass in a dark room. We slipped a few coins through a little hole and received a couple of tickets in return, then were led to another room where they kept the beer in large glass fridges. The choice of beer at 8,700 feet was Cusqueña, Cusqueña, and…um…possibly Cusqueña?

I’m not sure if beer has ever tasted quite so good, or so well deserved. We sipped our Cusqueñas from a patio overlooking the final day’s hike, five short kilometers of trail that separated us from the legendary Machupicchu which lay just over the next ridge. We couldn’t believe we were already this close, and yet it seemed that we had been walking — over mountains and streams, down steps and up steps, and along ridges and through ravines — for weeks. As the sun went down, the temperature began to plummet and we knew it was time to chug the rest and go grab some Happy Hour popcorn back at camp.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

 

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Sebastian, one of the Llama Path porters, setting up the gas lantern in the meal tent.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Lori washing her grubbies with the warm water and soap provided prior to each meal.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

The meal tent — waiting for the others.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Happy Hour! Popcorn and tea. Lori is very pleased.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

And next, dinner. But first –SURPRISE!– a cake to commemorate our last night on the trail together.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
Jai cuts the cake which is delicious.

And now, on to the main course! But wait! There’s a condor on the table!!!

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Go figure…the chef has taken some eggplant and transformed it into this iconic and majestic creature of the Andes. Wonders never cease (but are often quite tasty)…

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

Mmm, pork cutlets in a savory Peruvian mole with chicken and veggies.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

A piece of napkin marks my seat. Truth be told, I had been snatching up unused bits of napkin all day for my own “personal” (read: perpetual nose blowing) use. By this point it had become an obsession. I had hoped that the good vibes at Machu would somehow cure me of my affliction, and while there were plenty of good vibes to be had all around, my free-flowing runny nose would linger until we’d land in Iquitos nearly ten days later. But as for this moment, when I was supposed to be focused on enjoying our last evening on the trail, I was instead lusting after the pieces of napkin goodness all around, wanting more and more and wishing to highest Heaven I had simply brought more tissue of my own.

Peru Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
11 July 2010

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