We awoke at 3:30am on our final day to hike up to Machupicchu, the icing on our trekking cake. We lined up at a control gate along with over a hundred other hikers (we were close to the front) and at 5:30 the control gate opened and let us through.
This was a TOUGH hike…given the altitude, rough terrain, and direct sun. Our hearts were pounding (Lori says even more than hiking out of the Grand Canyon) and quads were burning. We stopped frequently to catch our breath and drink water in the shade, which became increasingly difficult (if not impossible) to find as the hours wore on.
We took a taxi to the bus station at 5am to buy our tickets to the village of Cabanaconde to hike the world’s second deepest gash, Colca Canyon. Information on hiking the canyon was hard to come by, but we had heard that many hikers trek solo to the bottom and we wanted to do the same. For this reason, we opted for local transport rather than a tour bus, and were ultimately very happy with our decision to do so.
We arrived in Arequipa, the ¨white city¨, in the morning and headed to our hostel, El Caminante Class. At 7,700ft we began to notice that climbing 2 flights of stairs to the hostel left us a little breathless. Later in the day we learned that there had been a rollover bus accident involving a double-decker night bus on the roads from Lima to Arequipa involving a different company, we were thankful for our choice of bus!