Machu Picchu Rat Race

My body is dripping with sweat, beads falling down my eyelids. It is only 4 am, too early to be working this hard, but this is Machu Picchu. You can feel the competition in the briskness of the air and we are number forty-one, forty-two and forty-three in line.

4am success

We are heading up 4,800 feet from the town of Aguas Calientes to the base of the sacred site. This is not much different from the distance of sea level to the top of Denver. Each step is like a foot high Chinese thinking step. I no longer feel the blisters on my feet from the previous four days of trekking but rather the pounding of my heart in my chest. I trust my balance and body as each step is taken in near darkness. The only sign of light is the dim glow of the half moon and the flowing movement of flashlights from other trekkers. Time is non-existent so there is no way to tell how long we have been walking other than the growing light from the rising sun. The hike up is nothing less than intense and with the smokers and those out of shape loosing ground, we pass a few people here and there getting us to position thirty in line. Soon we are able to see the outlining of the monstrous mountain peaks. Although thousands of people see this daily, today it feels like it is just for us; a warm welcoming to a life long goal. We make it up to the top within forty minutes; supposedly the world record is thirty-five minutes so we feel pretty good about ourselves. As our heart rate lowers everything turns into pure excitement and elation. We have made it...Machu Picchu.

Take that Mrs. Connelly (my high school Spanish teacher)...


Steph San
View from the top of Huayna Picchu...Machu Picchu below