Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

Trekking the Inca Trail in Peru


During the summer of 2001, I had to take a break from life for a few weeks.  So I headed about as far away as I could afford and spent some "alone" time in Peru and Ecuador.  For a few days of this trip, I was able to trek and explore the high Andes region in and around the famous Inca Trail.  Although I did not trek the entire length, I did spend several days exploring the nooks and crannies of this amazing trail network.


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The stunning panoramas that can be viewed from the trail are worth the high-altittude effort!  I am not sure why but I did not experience too much in the way of altitude sickness while in the region.  Perhaps it was due to the several days I spent in Cuzco before the trek.  Or maybe it was my multiple cups of coco tea every day!



For most, Machu Picchu is the terminus of the trip.  Mine was more of a multi-day round trip that started and ended on at the ruins.  From what I hear, this is not possible today.  I spent of total of three days exploring these amazing ruins.  I basically experienced every angle and part of the ruins complex as well as trekking many of the surrounding mountains.




Alpaca were seen commonly along the trail.  These are grazing the grounds of Machu Picchu.




A view of what is currently thought to be the "prison" of Machu Picchu.




Scenes of the amazing valleys and cloud forest as seen through a window of Machu Picchu.



Wayna Picchu is the mountain behind the main temple complex of Machu Picchu.  Climbing this mountain was sublime.  The amazing views and vibrations of the mountain allowed me to understand why the Inca considered this place sacred.



The view of Machu Picchu from the peak of Wayna Picchu.





Part of this trip included at least a week stay in the beautiful town of Cuzco on both ends of the trek.  Here is the cathedral in the lovely town center seen at night.  I found Cuzco to be a great town to hang out in for several days.  The nighlife was fun and the scene was relaxing and exciting.




A couple of villagers seen in a village heading toward the trail.  I wish I could remember the name of this beautiful Andes hamlet.




A young girl met along the road in one of the villages.  I could not help but note the very "Inca" features she and most everyone else had in this region exhibited.




A couple more young girls "standing guard!"



The baker's son coming out to great me and invite me in to his father's bakery.


A fair bit off the beaten trail these "Chullpas" can be seen They were built by pre-Inca peoples known as the Colla.




The Chullpas still have the bones of the people who were buried in them.



Papas!  These tubers are seen where they originated, the Andes.  Not Ireland!




A couple Alpaca see grazing the grasses near one of the many ruins along the trail.