Machu Pichu, Peru, May 2000
After a couple of hours aboard the narrow gauge train, we began our hike on the Inca Trail in bright and warm sunshine. Bingham barely made it out to the trail at all on the morning when he was to stumble into Machu Pichu:

"The morning of July 24th dawned in a cold drizzle. Arteaga shivered and seemed inclined to stay in his hut. I offered to pay him well if he would show me the ruins. He demurred and said it was too hard a climb for such a wet day. But when he found that I was willing to pay him a sol (a Peruvian silver dollar, fifty cents, gold), three or four times the ordinary wage in this vicinity, he finally agreed to go. When asked just where the ruins were, he pointed straight up to the top of the mountain. And no one cared to go with me. The Naturalist said there were "more butterflies near the river!" and he was reasonably certain he could collect some new varieties. The Surgeon said he had to wash his clothes and mend them. Anyhow it was my job to investigate all reports of ruins and try to find the Inca capital."
Intipunku, 75KB

This is the view on the last leg of the trail into Machu Pichu, looking backwards. Intipunku, the Gate of the Sun, is the notch on the top right, with the trail just visible.
Machu Pichu, 17:30, 47KB

Here is the view looking forward. It was about 5:30 in the afternoon.
44KB Machu Pichu, 08:00, 48KB

The next morning it was cool and foggy.
Inca Bridge, 84KB

This is the Inca Bridge. A trail used to cross the bridge. It now stops where I stood to take these pictures, well short of the bridge.
Inca Bridge closeup, 90KB

Here is a closeup of the bridge. It looks to be about 18 inches wide by 10 feet long.
Caretaker, 58KB

There are a handful of llamas that were apparently brought in for atmosphere. They are certainly much more numerous at higher altitudes, e.g. Cusco and Uchuycosco (11210 and 14000 feet respectively.) Machu Pichu is at about 7700 feet.

When Bingham walked into Machu Pichu,

"... the tropical forest had held undisputed sway for a very long time. During the course of our clearing we found massive trees, two feet thick, perched on the gable ends of small, beautifully constructed houses. It was not the least difficult part of our work to cut down and clear away such trees without seriously injuring the old walls."
Panorama, 307KB
Peru: Puerto Maldonado Cusco Urcos Uchuycosco Huilloc Machu Pichu
Home Updated: 28 April 2002