Finally, the day came to hike from the famed Km 104 to the Sun Gate, and get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu!! As the train pulled to a stop the intercom came on with a nice greeting welcoming the hikes to their stop. Our group jumped off the train, literally, we had to jump... and once the train started down the tracks again we realized that we were the only 6 people getting off!! Do the other travelers know something we do not? The entire group looked at each other like we had gotten ourselves in over our head.
The hike lasted only about 4 hours on what our guide called an ''inca flat'' pathway. We came to understand that this meant a little up, and then a little down. Nothing on the trail is actually flat. Although there was a lot of stairs (376 at Winay Wayna) we made it! The view was surreal! I actually hiked to the lost Incan city in the clouds! The area seemed lush and green and the only disappointment was when I saw other travelers pulling out there phones to make calls! There are certain places on this earth that you do not need to connect with people who are no there, just put your phone away and savor the moment!
We walked around the ruins with our guide and listened to the real story of the discovery of the ruins. There are so many aspects of this place that are exceptional: the carved rock that points due south, the waterways that fed the entire complex, and the rooms whose windows capture the light perfectly only on the equinox, this place is special, that is for sure.
We head down on the bus to Aguas Calientes for our hotel stay, but will be back to climb Huayna Picchu in the morning.