Our next day, we had the option of returning to Machu Picchu for sunrise. While most of our group slept the morning away and ate a leisurely breakfast, we got to the bus line at 5:20 AM. This is actually late for trying to get up the mountain for this alleged sunrise…I say “alleged” because, despite the promo photos we have seen, the weather here is not conducive to blue skies and sunshine. The lines reminded me of waiting for the Avitar ride at Disney…But they moved quickly and our bus did not careen off the cliff. We entered the city with the hordes and immediately made a left turn.
A visitor has a choice of initial paths…Yesterday, we took the right path and navigated the city. Today, we turned left and began our climb to the guard house. The top right pic, taken from the residential area of the city, shows the guard house at the top. Another pic shows it up close…This is the vista where the visitor can get their Christmas Card photo. And as you can tell from ours, while no “sunrise,” the fog and patchy sky were perfect for the estacy we felt at simply being here.
The Guard House was the official entrance to the city from two paths. The primary was simply known as the Inca Trail, which connected Machu Picchu to Cuzco and Ollantaytambo. The second path is known today as the Inca Bridge. It was a less-used pathway into the city that was primarily for military use. Today, the visitor can walk a section along cliffs to a gate that is locked. Mrs Bear and I walked to the gate…You go past a security gate to sign their log book just in case you slip and fall off the cliff.,.This is said only in half jest, because the trail is extremely narrow…Thete was a section that had an iron guard rail to hold onto…I also strongly advise not looking down during this part of the hike. I took the two photos of Mrs Bear on wider parts of the path.
This hike got us away from the people…And it allowed a surreal understanding into the Inca philosophy. As we walked along this mountain edge, far above the Urutambo River, I understood a part of their vision…We were halfway to heaven, the final destination. This special place was built to be closer to heaven.
The photo on the left is the trail on the other side of the gate…I wonder if the dilapidated bridge on the cliff is the one that gave the trail its name. The other is two terraces we passed just before reaching the Guard House. While difficult to see, I could not believe the lack of a safety wall separating the farmer from a free fall over the edge. These Inca were much smaller in stature and must have had feet like llama hooves.
A couple fun ones to end…