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”
Sunrise from Chaquicocha camp.
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.
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.
Still trekking with a snotty, snotty cold and keeping the Peruvian equivalent of Kleenex in business.
One of the many reasons for being our favorite trekking day – all of the unique and colorful flora along the cloud forest trail.
Brass discs along the trail marking the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
The gang taking in the view.
Stepping aside on a narrow section of trail to let the Llama Path porters pass (say that ten times fast!).
Pausing just before climbing in and down and through a small cave/hole in the rock on the trail.
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.
The hustle and bustle of porters and trekkers at the morning snack break stop.
Snack time! By the way, these are really good cookies (chocolate Rellenas).
Phuyupatamarka…better hope that one never comes up on your kid’s spelling test.
Alright, fun’s over…time to start walking down some steps…and by some, we mean a couple thousand of course!
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!!!
Finally, a nice place to…stand?
Is that Lori on…stairs?
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!
After Yunkapata, it’s on to our destination, Wiñaywayna (below).
Lori and Kaylee (left) admiring the Inca’s precise stone work — notice the gaps. Don’t see them? That’s cause there are none.
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.
Sebastian, one of the Llama Path porters, setting up the gas lantern in the meal tent.
Lori washing her grubbies with the warm water and soap provided prior to each meal.
The meal tent — waiting for the others.
Happy Hour! Popcorn and tea. Lori is very pleased.
And next, dinner. But first –SURPRISE!– a cake to commemorate our last night on the trail together.
And now, on to the main course! But wait! There’s a condor on the table!!!
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)…
Mmm, pork cutlets in a savory Peruvian mole with chicken and veggies.
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.