As noted at the end of the last post, we hiked to Machu Picchu in dense fog amidst dense crowds. All 500 of us that had official permits to visit the historic site on this day were lined up at the gate, which opened at 6:30 a.m. and off we went. It was a super easy hike compared to the previous three days, only an hour and a half or so to get to the fogged-in “Sun Gate,” followed by another 20 minutes of hiking along in the clouds before we came to the end. Still couldn’t see much, but then we did a zig-zag down to the official entry point, a modern Park facility with bathrooms and storage and gift shop and adjacent fancy hotel and restaurant, and nearby bus stop where a fleet of shuttles goes up and down the 2,000 feet from Aguascalientes (or “Machu Picchu city”) below continuously all day.
We went in and through a small passage in a wall and suddenly we were there!
Eric kept us together as a group for the next two hours, taking us on a guided tour of the whole place, in and out of the famous sites, the Sun Temple, the sundial, the quarry, and much more. Having been prepared by the previous ruins and before that the amazing sites in Cuzco and even earlier in Ingapirca in Ecuador, it was sweet to have the climax be so well contextualized.