Macchu Pichu

 It really bothers me that you always see the same picture of Machu Picchu. It's even worse to see the roped off section full of hundreds of tourists standing in line for hours at this one particular spot to capture that same picture. Machu Picchu truly is a wonder of the world and I feel extremely lucky to have experienced it in the way that I did, being chewed up and spit out by the mountain, eaten alive by insects and pushed to a level of exhaustion that I have never before reached. It is common for tourists to take the train from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu since it is quick and painless and I have to say I don't blame them, I may be slightly more comfortable right now had I not trekked through the Selva for 10 hours. However, if you want a full adventure you might consider taking a 6 hour bus from Cusco to Hidroelectrica, walking 4 hours in the Selva to Augas Clientes, waiting until 4 in the morning to hike another 3 hours to the Inka ruins, and then another 3 hours up and down the Machu Picchu mountain itself. If you're like me and are traveling with a group of crazy adventure enthusiasts this will probably be your way as well.  When we finally arrived, the Inka Ruins we were literally inside of a cloud. We couldn't see more than ten feet in front of us and I started to panic that I had chosen the wrong day to do this. An hour later, the cloud dissipated and the sun rose and what I had thought to be sky revealed itself to be a group of giant mountains, deep green and blue in color, intersected by puffy white clouds all around them. I have never felt as humbled as I did at that moment. The experience itself was beyond words, enough beauty to bring you to tears. I walked around the ruins with my jaw on the floor for a few hours as I learned about the incredible life of the Inkas and the groups of people that came before and after them. My eyes, as usual, overpowered my ears and I found myself lost in the art of it all, the cut of the giant stones, the hundreds of colors in the mountains, the shapes of the clouds all around me. At this point I was extremely tired and the sun beating down relentlessly on me wasn't helping. I thought I would sit for a while and just watch, but my friends found me and told me to get ready to hike Machu Picchu. I’m convinced this mountain is unlike any other. There were a few points where I stopped and contemplated if I was going to be able to make it without water. The entire hike was steep with minimal places to rest. The path winded up the mountain on the edge and at certain points was so narrow that only one person could pass through safely. When I finally reached the top I was breathless, both from the extreme heat and the incredible view. The Inka ruins were now only a spec in the green blanket that lie below me. I took my time enjoying the feeling of accomplishment. The hike down the mountain was painful and a bit scary. For the first time I experienced knee pain and my legs felt like jello, shaking uncontrollably. For the most part I was too tired to be bothered with my camera. Here are some shots I took with my iPhone of one of the best days of my life.