Hiking Adventure Tour:
Travel Journal 2016-17 Term 4
Day 2 of our Adventure Tour began with freshly laundered shoes to support our voyaging feet. The hostel owner in Santa Teresa was kind enough to wash and dry all of our runners after our wet bike ride! For a tiny fee of 10 soles, he good-naturedly prepared our shoes to ensure we were ready to hike the foothills of Machu Picchu the next morning!
After waking up to an energizing breakfast of fruits, eggs, and pancakes, we were ready for our hike to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu city). The only way to access Aguas Calientes is via train or hiking trails. So, we ditched the train and walk along its tracks instead – a very famous route for tourists who flock from all over the world.
Arriving at the beginning checkpoint, we had to ‘sign in’. We individually wrote our name and country of birth alongside the other adventure-seekers that filled the immense encyclopedia-style book. It was like putting our stamp in history. There were hikers from Colombia, Canada, France, Russia, China, and more.
Snacks prepared, water on hand, and all our possessions on our backs, we began our trek. There we walked, sometimes side-by-side laughing together, other times 10 meters apart, happily in our own thoughts. We went at our own pace. No agenda, no pressure, no stress. It was three hours of everything you can imagine: we were loud, we were silent, we were photographers, we were interpreters, we were tranquil, and we were rowdy. We sang, we gazed, we learned, and we breathed a different breath. We played with dogs, we listened to the powerful Urubamba River, and we channeled our inner gymnast while using the railway as a balance beam. We waved to fishermen, we got dirty, and we listened to music. We were tired, we were lively, and we were appreciative. In sum, we were the best versions of ourselves.
It was the perfect three hours along the tracks, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery some of us had ever seen: giant mountains, rapid waters, and lush vegetation. It was three hours of saying ‘hola’ and ‘buenos dias’ to happy passers by. It was also three hours where a few of us committed to doing 10 pushups every 30 minutes – just for that extra challenge 😉
As the three-hour mark approached, we saw the colourful houses and restaurants in the distance. We had made it to Aguas Calientes! We pushed through that final stretch as our legs were tired and our hearts were full. Smiling ear to ear and congratulating one another other, we felt accomplished. We also felt hungry! So the very first thing we did was walk into a restaurant and reward our bodies with a post-workout Peruvian lunch.
At this point of our day we were finally able to reunite with the other half of the group in Aguas Calientes. Together we explored the bustling city, visited the beautiful hot springs with a view of Machu Picchu, and had an early night after dinner. Yes, you guessed it, we had another 4:30am wake up call for the ultimate goal of our week: Machu Picchu!
Continue reading for Adventure Day 3: Macchu Picchu.