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Hike Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

«A Hike through the Incas’ Lost Province»

Hike Inca Trail To Machu Picchu
Hike Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

Hike Inca Trail is an important part of the trekking experience is seeing how the Incas people lived. While you trek, you can observe and learn about day by day activities and a life style which you close to the land and very different from the west. Although life in the foothills of the Peruvian Andes has been impacted by trekkers you can still observe traditional method of farming, cooking, trades, child rearing, construction and religious activities. In Particular the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu are generally well maintained and are actively used by the worldwide trekkers.

The whole of Peru was once criss-crossed with Inca and pie-Inca highways. They were paved with thick interlocking blocks of stone, and varied in quality and width. 0n the plains and rolling uplands they might be as much as six meters wide; in the mountains, less than a meter.

Sometimes they followed the valleys. But just as often they traversed the high mountainsides, tracing impossible pathways and following narrow ledges above the bottomless gorges of the Andes. The trails were built for men on foot, and lightly-burdened llamas. Frequently their gradients gave way to stairways, tunnels and long zigzag trajectories clown steep faces.

Most of these highways were useless to the European invaders. Horses balked at the steps and got stuck in the tunnels. Carts and carriages could never pass. The roads of the coast and the valleys became colonial highways, which were allowed to deteriorate in a way the Incas would never have accepted, but kept in use. Many are roadways to this day. But the highland trails were abandoned to the natives, mostly to crumble and vanish over the centuries—even though many an Andean footpath quite suddenly becomes a staircase of huge, carefully-laid slabs, worn down by generations of mules and herders, but still solid, enduring.

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One such trail followed the gorge of the “Urubarnba” River. The main highway turned north out of the valley just downstream from “Ollantaytambo”, to cross the “Panticalla” pass leading to the jungle settlement of “Amaybamba”. Perhaps this was the only highway still in use by the time of the Conquest, for the Spaniards never discovered the trail that continued on down the valley to a point where it is becoming a gorge and will soon be a canyon. The Incas built a string of settlements onward from here down the right bank of the Urubamba, and pushed secondary highways down both sides of the gorge far beyond Machu Picchu. But at the spot named “Qoriwayrachina” (Gold Sifter)—now better known as Kilometer 88—the main Inca highway crossed the river and turned southwest up the gentler valley of the “Cusichaca” (Bridge of Joy). This was the royal highway to Machu Picchu—the famous Inca Trail.

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1915 when he returned to Peru to make further studies and clear the ruins at Machu Picchu. His guides took him to other ruins to the south and east. He discovered traces of an ancient road linking the city to a string of lesser settlements in the direction of Cusco. The highway was traced and explored in more detail in 1942 by the Viking Expedition, sponsored by the “Wenner Gren” Foundation. Its leader, Paul Fejos, made important discoveries—most notably the stunning site of “Wiñay Wayna—and published his conclusions in the United States.

By this time the trail had ceased to be the exclusive territory of archaeologists and scientists. A handful of rugged travelers each year were struggling along its 50 or so kilometers, a trail far more overgrown and difficult to follow then than it is today. And in the years since, the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has become a celebrated and popular hike, known to backpackers all over the continent. There are thousands of Inca trails, but there is only one Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Why? Few relatively short hikes in the world can offer such variety of scenery, so many staggering views, such a mix of jungle and high sierra. Certainly no other walk known to man will lead you along an ancient highway from one secluded ruin to another, each in a breathtaking setting, each almost perfectly preserved, offering shelter, solitude and views that no pen or camera can ever adequately record. And of course, no other hike in the world ends with a climactic descent into Machu Picchu.

Hike Inca Trail is impossible to doubt that the entire experience was planned — there was nothing happenstance about the stunning combinations of scenic and man-made beauty. The Incas wanted those who walked this way to reel in awe as they crested the passes and rounded the corners. They designed the trail like a dramatic narrative, with a series of troughs, slow build-ups and climaxes, each greater than the last, until the stunning finale, when travelers look down from “Intipunku” upon Machu Picchu, shining on its stone isthmus between two great peaks, far above the Urubamba river.

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu are rarely, if ever, considered in this light: as a complete work of art — perhaps because there is no work of art in our civilization on anything approaching this scale. And yet it can be argued that it was a work of art, rather like a gothic cathedral, with its intended purpose: to elevate the soul of the pilgrim on the way to Machu Picchu. The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was a pilgrim’s route; its destination, a sacred city.

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Hike Inca Trail
Hike Inca Trail in Peru

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Hike Inca Trail
Hike Inca Trail in Peru

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Hike Inca Trail
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