Once the Huayna Picchu adventure was over, we headed back down to Aguas Calientes to stop by the souvenir stands, eat and get our stuff together for the train ride back to Cusco. I finally bought my llama duffel bag!
As we were on the excruciatingly long train ride back to Cusco (the train stopped several times on the way for some technical difficulties – I think we even started going backwards at one point!), I actually felt sad that our hiking adventure was over. In a way, I felt like our vacation was over. What would tomorrow morning be like when we didn’t have to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn, in a cold tent, baby-wipe shower before a breakfast feast prepared by Jorge in preparation for hours of walking?
So in the end, I really enjoyed the hiking experience. It was challenging and exhausting and fun and unforgettable. Our group fought, laughed and made it through together in the end.
I would also recommend Q’ente to prospective Machu Picchu hikers. The price was right, we had a cool guide, an awesome cook & crew, and it was nice to be hiking in a smaller group instead of some of the massive crowds of tourists we saw a couple times. Even though we didn’t get to take the “official” Inca Trail, I enjoyed the route we took. It had glaciers (you don’t want to miss Salkantay), snow, mountains, jungle, tropical flowers and everything in between.
Looking back on the trip, I want to go again! I want to check out the Inca Trail tours, I want to see more of the ruins in those mysterious mountains, I want to revisit Machu Picchu and spend more time there now that I kind of know it. Also, I recently read this awesome book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, that really reignited my desire to return to the mountains. What you hear is true – the mountains and the people who live there, are just different.
Hasta luego, Machu Picchu!