Thursday, July 16, 2009

Machu Picchu (Gabby)




I had to visit Machu Picchu while in Peru and especially while staying in Cusco which is a mere three hours from the "Lost City of the Incas." While I usually avoid tourist locations, this particular draw warranted a visit and it was actually full of suprises. The town outside of Machu Picchu is full of pizza joints and souvenir shops, but if you take just a 5 minute hike outside of the town there is an abundance of montane cloud forest. The area adjacent to the historical sanctuary is thankfully forested and I enjoyed a very successful afternoon of birding on the first day. I saw a female cock-of-the-rock and a number of stunning tanager species.

As for Machu Picchu, we woke up at 4:30am to stand in line for the 5:30am bus which was incredibly crowded. In order to hike up Wayna Picchu for the classic view from above you have to be one of the first 400 visitors in a day. When we arrived at the site they took our tripod because it was "dangerous" and held it for our visit. So, we hiked in to a mist covered stone city without a tripod. While at first annoyed it turned out to be okay because we hiked a very steep mountain to reach the stop of Wayna Picchu. The view was breathtaking and the stonework amazing. While I did take some "typical" shots of the site, I ended up with two I really like - one of the landscape including the peak where Wayna Picchu is located and one of the mountain viscacha hanging out in the ruins.

More soon!

- Gabby

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