Dream Trek to Machu Picchu

January 12, 2008

Machu Picchu

There are two ways to Machu Picchu. One is by train; the other by foot. My lifelong dream has always been to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – to experience the trek the way the ancient Incas did. This Spring, my dream will become a reality.

Even though I’ve always wanted to visit Machu Picchu, the actual steps to realizing that dream only started very recently. Last summer, Kevin and I decided to choose one place we each wanted to visit most in the world. His choice was Thailand and, you guessed it, mine was Machu Picchu.

We crossed Thailand off our list in October 2007 (and had an amazing time doing it)! Next, it’s my turn to visit the place to which I’ve always dreamed of traveling.

Why did I choose Machu Picchu? Honestly, I can’t quite put into words why I am so drawn there. When I was in second grade, we were asked to create a simple paper book about oneself. To help facilitate the process, there were leading questions on each page, and one of them was “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go”? (Heh, even back then we did memes).

Some kids wrote “Disney World”, others “Space Camp”, but a little Binary Blonde wrote “South America”. True, I didn’t specifically write “Machu Picchu”, but looking back, writing South America was even a little odd (and telling), considering I was in second grade.

Fast forward 20 years and, on May 22, 2008, Kevin and I will be on a flight to Lima, Peru to begin a trip that I can safely say I’ve wished for my entire life. This may sound cliché, but dreams really do come true.

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Machu Picchu Dream on Hold
May 28, 2008 at 1:32 pm

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

jamie January 12, 2008 at 9:01 am

You are going to have the most amazing time! I’m so jealous. I hope you take tons of pictures!

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Sarah January 13, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Wow. That sounds really, really fun. The one thing I miss living where I do is hiking. It’s just not the same on flat ground.

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katelin January 14, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Aw that’s amazing. I’m so jealous of your trip, but can’t wait to hear about it. Yay.

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Binary Blonde January 14, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Jamie – I am so looking forward to it! I will take tons of photos; I am a photo-a-holic. I took over 1,000 photos on our trip last year to Thailand and I plan to max out my 2 gigabyte card(s) for our Machu Picchu trip. :lol:

Sarah – I know it will be fun and tough, but even though it’s going to be a tough hike, I am so excited. Hiking, in general, is so relaxing for me. I love being out under an open sky with nothing but my shoes between me and the Earth. It’s so healing for me.

Katelin – I hope to possibly blog while in Peru, like we did in Thailand. We used internet cafes. Though, I doubt I’ll blog while we’re actually doing the 4-day hike on the Inca Trail; there are no hotels until you reach Machu Picchu!

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GG January 15, 2008 at 9:43 am

Very cool. Mine is the Greek Isle–not sure why but it has been for about ten years now. Haven’t planned it yet but am looking forward to it!

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Shelly January 15, 2008 at 11:45 pm

OK, now you’re booked and I should pull all my stuff out to send you lots of tips. Put these at the top of your list: Incanto in Cuzco – best meal I’ve had in my life. Fallen Angel in Cuzco – all meat so I didn’t go for the food but the decor is worth a trip in – gay guys gone wild decorating, must see.

Get a walking stick for the trek. You can rent them there, no need to take your own. And lucky you – you should miss the rain, I’m jealous!

You’ll see little kids and small houses on Day 1 of the trek – I wish I’d had little goodies to give them but I didn’t think we’d be seeing anyone!

Take t-shirts or baseball caps for the porters, or some little goody. They bust their butts carrying 25kg so we can don’t have to and they make a whopping $20 for their efforts. Most have never even seen Machu Picchu – can’t afford it. They work harder than anyone I’ve ever seen, and they RUN the trail. You’ll be stepping along, feeling like you’re going at a pretty good clip and they will come along basically at a run. Amazing. I have video of some of ours passing us – I’ll send you a link when I post the pix.

Jack’s is great for breakfast. Owned by an Aussie woman who came to Cuzco, fell in love with the city, went back to Oz, couldn’t stand it and migrated to Cuzco. Jack is her son.

Talk to the kids selling postcards around the square. They’ll bug you to buy postcards but if you start talking to them it can be quite interesting. They all want to work on their Spanish.

Rent a thermarest for the trek – I can’t imagine sleeping directly on the ground in those campgrounds. Make sure you have a headlamp for those middle of the night trips to the bathrooms.

I wondered about the bathroom situation along the trail – there are some at every stop (the stops are designated and everyone trekking stops in the same places). Take 2x as much toilet paper as you think you’ll need.

Walk to the Inca Bridge when you’re at MP. I didn’t go up the other peak – I was sick and tired of going up and down and the up and down on it is horrific. People actually come down on their butts it’s so steep.

If you get a chance check this place out: http://www.aldeayanapay.org/ It really brings home how one person can change the world.

Looks like in Lima you’ll be staying in Miraflores. That’s the prettiest part of the city, you’ll like it. The shopping center along the coast has fabulous views. I had the best chocolate filled churros of my life in Miraflores, I’ll have to see if I can figure out on a map where the vendor was.

OK, I’ll shut up now. :-)

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Shelly January 15, 2008 at 11:46 pm

They want to work on their English (the kids on the square). Their Spanish is just fine – I needed to work on mine though!

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Andrew Reynolds January 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Good luck in your trip to Peru! hope you will be having great time exploring the different places there..

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Kenric January 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Looks like a beautiful place.

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Binary Blonde January 17, 2008 at 10:27 pm

GG – The Greek Isle is so gorgeous! I would absolutely love to travel there someday, too. There’s no time like the present to start planning! ;-)

Shelly – Oh my goodness, I could kiss you. Please don’t shut up – this is amazing! :lol: Thank you so much for this info! I will add this to my travel notes that I take with me. If anything else comes to mind before our trip, please feel free to leave another comment (or ten), email me or contact me via my form. Thank you again!

Andrew Reynolds – Thank you! I plan to make this “the trip of a life time”!

Kenric – I can only imagine, but come the end of May, I will know for sure! :-)

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Shelly March 9, 2008 at 6:53 pm

This seems like the wrong time to be sending this with all you’re going through right now but I’m heading to Middle Earth soon and want to get this info to you while I’m looking at it.

I’m going through my Trail journal and have found a section I called “Inca Trail Advice”

Climb lots of stairs, the real kind, up and down.

Swim or whatever you can to increase lung capacity.

5K is not a lot (that’s the amount the porters can legally carry for you) – pack wisely and weigh judiciously. They weigh the packs before you set off and they will make you take things out if you’re over.

Take more TP than you think you’ll need
Take more handiwipes ” ” ”
Take 4 pairs of socks, one for each day
Take 4 pairs of underwear – you get really sweaty walking this thing
Make sure boots and raingear are actually waterproof
Chew/suck on Coca leaves – my heart rate elevated but I never had problems breathing
Be ready for Rain
Drink Coca tea – it will take away headaches
There are toilets available. Some are skanky. Pit toilets are the best. It’s really hard to hover after all the hiking.
You can buy water the 1st 2 days and the morning of the 3rd. Take small money. After that the porters will boil it and there is plenty.
Appreciate the porters – they’re amazing
Get a waterproof cover for your backpack
iPods have problems with elevation, if you take one and it locks up wait a bit and it’ll start working again

And I finally posted a few of my photos (I took over 2,000):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thereshegoesagain/sets/72157604071071538

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Bob September 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Not sure BB if you actually did this amazing tip in the end as there is a comment that the trip is on hold.

It is a dream of ours to also visit Machu Picchu but time is getting away from us :(

Must push it up the travel schedule.

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