Walking and Climbing The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sorry I haven't been posting much, I've been busy walking and climbing...

In my Spring into Summer 5% Challenge we started using our exercise minutes to travel to Machu Pichu today (Saturday). I heard that was the challenge when it was posted on Thursday, so I decided to hop a plane Thursday (figuratively of course) to Peru, to do my exercise there on the trail to Machu Picchu from Cusco.

Here's what our 5% Challenge instructions had to say about where we're headed:

We are heading high into spectacular Peruvian Andes to visit one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. It’s perched on a 7,900 foot plateau deep in the Amazonian jungle, yet it’s Peru's most-visited site. The Incas built the estate around 1450, then abandoned a century later. It is a marvel of mortar-free limestone architecture all built by human labor.

It became completely hidden by jungle growth, till it was discovered by the outside world in the 20th century. Enjoy exploring the structures and terracing, the views of the Andes mountains We can get there by train from Cusco but if you are adventurous take a few days to climb the ancient trail on foot; travel through deep Andean gullies and enjoy stunning views. Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is perhaps the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.

Of course, I have to travel on foot to get my exercise points... but it's 51 miles, so I knew that if I didn't get started on Thursday I'd never make it before next Saturday when we're on to some new exotic locale.

As part of their road system, the Incas built a road to the Machu Picchu region. Today, tens of thousands of tourists walk the Inca Trail to visit Machu Picchu each year. They congregate at Cusco before starting on the two-, four- or five-day journey on foot from Kilometer 82 to complete the "Classic Inca Trail" (55 miles on the Urubamba River) or Kilometer 104 (two-day trip - 51 miles) near the town of Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba valley, walking up through the Andes mountain range to the isolated city.

(I'm going to take 9 days because with my busy work schedule, I can't average enough miles in a day to get there by Friday, even though I started on Thursday...)

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (also known as Camino Inca or Camino Inka) consists of three overlapping trails: Mollepata, Classic, and One Day. Mollepata is the longest of the three routes with the highest mountain pass and intersects with the Classic route before crossing Warmiwañusqa ("dead woman"). Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra. Settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins are located along the trail before ending the terminus at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. The two longer routes require an ascent to beyond 4,200 metres (13,800 ft) above sea level, which can result in altitude sickness.

Here's my mileage and stairs so far on my trek -

Thursday - 3.7 miles and 2,171 stairs
Friday - 4.8 miles and 1,828 stairs
Saturday - 6.6 miles and 1,874 stairs

Total so far = 15.1 miles

I'm going to need to average about 6 miles a day over the next six days to make it before it's time to head off to our next destination. Wish me luck!

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