We spent the night in a nice hotel in Ollantaytambo and had dinner at a restaurant at the train station - a short walk from the hotel. We were told at dinner that we would be returning to the train station early in the morning and that we needed to take a small backpack for the day and night. We would not see the bus for two days so we needed to take a change of clothes. We would also be carrying a boxed lunch to eat on our hike the next day.
We got up early, had breakfast, got our boxed lunch and walked to the train station. There were many people waiting for the train to Aquas Caliente, the closest stop to Machu Picchu.
We were told that our stop was 104 kilometers. It was an odd name for a stop but we looked out for it. Our guides came along the train and said that when the train stops we needed to get off. The train stopped and there was not station. We just hopped off the train from about 4 feet high and we were in the jungle.
When the train left all we saw was a river - the Vilcanota.
.. and a little foot bridge to cross the river.
Across the river was a little hut where we had to sign in and show our Passports and ID.
We then got ready to begin our 4-5 hour hike that would take us about 4000 feet above where we started.
We were each carrying two liters of water besides our clothes for the night and a boxed lunch.
The weather was cloudy with some off and on rain.
This photo was in mid-morning and we had just climber a little.
We continued climbing….
…until we stopped for lunch.
After lunch we continued in the rain. The stop had been where most people who are doing the 4 days of the Inca trail stopped. To do the 4 days you need to hire people to carry your stuff and camp out each night.
We started to get higher and higher…
And then reached the `Gringo Killer' steps.
They are called this because if you are not in shape by the time you get here you will not be able to make it up the stairs.
There are approximately 60 steps - none even or the same height.
At the top of the steps there are some fantastic views. When we were up there it was pretty cloudy.
Brenan and his girlfriend Julia.
The Queen and Dana.
We eventually reached our goal for the day the Sun Gate.
At some point of the day the sun will shine through a window of the Sun Gate and it is projected down the valley into the Machu Picchu site.
We sat for awhile waiting for the cloud cover to dissipate but it never did.
Morgan and I.
As we headed down the mountain we eventually got to a point where we could see Machu Picchu for the first time.
The valley was filled with llamas. These two were wandering around Machu Picchu.