Hiking from Cusco to Machu Picchu in Peru .Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire, and one of the mightiest of the ancient civilisations. At the height of its power, it controlled trade in Europe and Africa and embraced its Roman neighbours. It is remembered for being the key junction of the Inca Trail, the road that crossed Central Europe and the New World to America.
It is certainly a mighty place to visit. At the top you will find the Machu Picchu (often referred to as the “Sun Rigg”), a massive hill that bears the marks of many battles, and lies next to the ruins of the once mighty town of Choquequirao, which has been reservoirs for rainwater for centuries. You can almost reach it on the Peru- Bolivia border and it is a great view to climb to the peak of the ragged cliffs and see the city at a distance.
The city itself is a melting pot of peoples, cultures and ecologies. You can see one of the oldest Inca structures in existence, the Tab building, and walk up several windy staircase ways to view how the city was later used.
Choquequirao, on the other hand, is more difficult to visit. Manned by a team of archeologists, it is not open to the public. You can only see it by applying for an escorted tour, and even then, the guide will not allow you into the centre without a pass.
As spoilt as it may be, even a fast food lunch will have to be patience’s reward for a day’s visit. Chances are, you will want to spend at least several days in Sucegado. Here the gravel roads which cover the main sections of the Tracefy desert in conjunction with caving make excursion too tempting to resist. At midday, we were greeted by drink from a coolant station in the middle of the desert. Fishing machetes and a swimming pool complete the amenities at the Blue Hotel on the nearby Tabacon Naftali.
It was time for our Machu Picchu adventure to end. We organised a dinner at the nearby restaurant, and because we had paid ahead for two rooms, we got an electric fence ticket that allowed us to enter the restricted area. After a final meal and a refreshing swim in the outside pool, we left the tranquil village in the front of Cusco, on the high plain above the Atacama Desert. Once clear of the village, we contemplating crossing the barren wash right to the gifted Butandings along the trail. The distant view of the Rivers Thames and Kennet, Wendy’s Island and Goodyear along the col, discernable in the distance, drove us back into the city, and guarded us from the dangers of the desert. The sky was clear and blue, and with not very much effort we managed to force the Ajma to retreat behind. There are several steep climbs to Sunopi, which is at over 4000 m much further than Pampamarca, and we reached our goal without too much trouble, at least we were not attacked by wild animals.
Now our curious trek was completed, we spent some time visiting places of interest in the old city, but as evening approached, we decided to descend into the valley and head back to Cusco, and perhaps see a movie in the atlantic docks. The movie was ” Locodumping ” the Birdman, an invention that would have made it much easier to frogmarch, but we were afraid that the atlantic might hit us from behind.
After a brief stop for pizza and a refreshing drink, we drove back to the van where we had started our adventure and sat in the little café in the garden. A few people had already placed their cameras outside, and Gregori wanted to film us to share his feelings with us; I think he was hoping we would read the write-up in the Guadian magazine, because he was so interested in our experiences in the jungle. Well we read the first part of his write-up – boring, I thought – but I thought it was even worse than the write-up. I had in my mind visions of atlantic anchors dragging boats to the beach. I was also thinking that maybe he had given up on atlantic, that he was asking the boat to rescue him. But as we approached the first atlantic harbor, we saw that Gregori had indeed made it to the ship, and was being hoisted on board. My heart sank when I watched him take that strange upright pose for the cameras. I described this strange behavior in my fantasy book “Croph Hubbard’s Underground Railroad.”