ode to the inca trail

machu picchu group peruMachu Picchu: one of those magical places that will either render you speechless or cause you to instantly want to put your experience into words. Sean Kennaway was so inspired by his Intrepid adventure that he penned this ode to the Inca Trail…

“The dawn bus rattled over the cobblestone streets of Cuzco
As we ventured towards the Inca town of Ollantaytambo
A trek to the mythical citadel of Machu Picchu was set
Day one of the Inca Trail lay ahead

By the sacred river of Urubamba we ordered our day packs
As the Quechua porters from Chinchero prepared their huge sacks
For forty five kilometers of undulating trail
Used by the Incas to pass their daily mail

Greeted by rain falling from clouds shrouding the Vilcabamba peaks
We set off on four days of endeavor with no training, eeek!
Through small villages we passed on a gentle ascent
Lulled to a false sense of security I sensed

In late afternoon we hit the first camp at Huayllabamba
Set amongst the peaks of the Sacred Valley and the tambos
Dinner was served as the day became dusk
Just how they presented such an amazing feast was discussed

The ascent to the pinnacle known as ‘Dead Women’s Pass’
Is every gringo hiker’s fear to surpass
Passing through cloud forest of unique flora and fauna
The mountains themselves seem to dispel an aura

It was with quiet relief as the pass came to sight
On a solid incline, not torturous steps to the height
We stood at the top and the cameras snapped
The highest pass conquered, to Machu Picchu we advanced

Day three was easy for Intrepid travelers as the hard work was done
We cruised downhill through tunnels, via ruins and llama dung
Pressing on we trod down the ancient stone Inca highway
Keeping an eye out for humming birds hovering on the way

One last camp at Winay Wayna before we descended to the target
A hot shower was available and even a beer to enjoy the last sun set
We slept sound that night, with 40 kilometers behind us
A relief in some way, and no reason more to cuss

Descending we paused to catch glimpses of what might be
But alas the clouds hung low, obscuring the majesty
At the Sun Gate we waited, but the clouds came a new
Pariacaca the weather god conspired to hide the city from view

Then, the misty clouds magically lifted and we happened a glimpse
Of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains
An incredible sight, and worthy to exclaim
A Wonder of the World now proclaimed.”

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* photo by Sean Kennaway

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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