Macchu Pichu: A Perfect Place to Meet Up With My LA Friends

by Brian Carroll on October 24, 2012

Post image for Macchu Pichu: A Perfect Place to Meet Up With My LA Friends Lists and goals have always been an important part of my life...to the point that at times the amount I have can seem a bit ridiculous. But for me, they've always been an important way for me to identify opportunities for growth and ultimately realize accomplishments. About a year and a half a ago, I remember reading a financical post that talked about a concept of identifying 100 goals to accomplish over a 3 year period. I had found the idea intriguing and as such, set out to create a list for myself, with two of the more prominent goals being to a)travel in South America and b)visit Machu Picchu. Anyways, it was now Saturday, October 14th and I found myself waking to an alarm at 4:30 am (a miracle in itself to be honest) in the town of Aguas Calientes - which sits at the base of Machu Picchu. So despite the fact that I was waking up while the nearby clubs were still open and blaring music, I found it fulfilling to recognize that the specific goals I set for myself over a year ago, I was about to fully bring to fruition. But to do that, it would first require a bit of a trek – not the 4 day Inka Trek that 6 of my LA friends were finishing this same morning (I'd be meeting them by the afternoon), but rather an hour+ climb up 1,300 feet to the entrance of Machu Picchu (I decided it was better to hike to the entrance rather than take a bus). By 6:15am, I had reached the fog covered entrance and shortly thereafter, made my way into the ruins. To be honest, the first hour and a half did not provide much visibility to the site (though I did have a nice encounter with a pack of llamas). So in the interim, I made my way toward what is known as the "Sun Gate," about a 45 min trek away from Machu Picchu where the Inka's originally entered the site from. And it was from this location that I just so happened to run into my LA friends making their way into the ruins which was a bit surreal of a situation - to first meetup with them halfway across the world at Machu Picchu. As the day progressed, little by little, the sun began to peer through the clouds until you could look down on Machu Picchu and truly realize just how hidden it had always been from the rest of the world – it really was an amazing site to see first hand and something I'd highly recommend to experience in person. While I wasn't able to partake in the full Inka Trail with my friends, I had signed up in advance to hike Huayna Picchu, the large mountain you see in the background of just about any picture of Macchu Pichu (in recent years, Peru has put strict limitations on the number of visitors as it relates to Macchu Pichu: 500 per day can hike the Inka trail, 400 per day can hike Huayna Picchu and 2,500 overall per day are allowed within the ruins). The hike atop Huayna Picchu took about 2.5 hours roundtrip and proved to be a good challenge no matter one's fitness level. The hike ascended an additional 1,000 feet and presented a few precarious spots that required the use of cables and ropes along the way. The summit of the hike provided a great view, but as some gray clouds began to sneak into the valley, I soon made my way back down (just escaping the rain) in time to meet up with my friends to celebrate their hike with some much needed beers. I'd quickly realize though that such a celebration would be fleeting for me in the short-term...

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Allison Doman October 24, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Brian,

So glad you made it to Machu Picchu!! I’m jealous that you got to hike Huayna Picchu. Great pictures! Have fun hanging out with your friends!

-Allison

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