Friday, October 29, 2010

The Inca Trail (Day 3)..

Travel Diaries: Oct 6th

Pacamayo to Winay Wayna

Pacamayo is the highest camp site on the trail. Last night was freezing. And today will be the longest stretch in the  Trail. We climb down from Pacamayo which is at a height of 3500 m to Winay Wayna. 
Last night saw three members of the group falling sick. In the heartland of the incas it was the deftly brewed local tea by the porters in the team that helped.  So we set off at 5:30 PM

We climbed down and soon from a distance the circular ruins of Runkracay emerged into view. Like most other ruines of note along the trail , It was also discovered by Hiram Bingham.

The inca ruins of Runkuracay

Inside the ruin of Runkaracay
Overlooking the Pacamayo valley, it probably served as some sort of watch tower and might have been a resting place for travelers walking the trail. We walked on. The climb got a little steeper as we made our way to the second pass  Arba De Runkuracay.
 Lake along the way to the pass
The trail got prettier as we walked on. Once we got to the pass we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the peaks. It was only the first few hikers who got to see the view and it soon fogged up.
View of the peaks from the pass
We rested a while enjoying the scenery and waited for everyone to get here. It was unimaginable for me that those who fell sick the previous night trekked this stretch. It was demanding enough when you are fully able.
The path we climbed to get here...
The trail got narrower as we climbed down. Our knees hurt. But the views got prettier. We were promised that we would see loads of inca ruins today and with that driving us we walked on.

Climbing down from Arba De Runkuracay..
The stone staircases were built differently. They had been carved into the mountain by the incas and the steps slightly tilted upwards. The genius of this was that in a downward slope it gives the walker. a near horizontal footing.  Sayacmarca was our second stop. Saycmarca means inaccessible town and seeing the ruin tells you why
The Ruins of Saycmarca - 'Inaccessible town'
The vegetation changed drastically as we lost height. Yesterday was dry, but today was all flowers and sunshine and plenty of trees. The most exciting bits of the trail for me was passing through a small Inca tunnel. Its amazing that these structures were carved through the hard mountain rock centuries ago.

Walking through the Inca Tunnel

No am not posing :)

The ruin on Phuyupatamarca is incredible. From a distance the terraces that are the defining feature of the ruin were spectacular.

close with the ruin of Phuyupatamarca
Getting here involved a slight detour and meant we would take a good hour or so longer to get to our final stop. But it was well worth it. 'The Town in the Clouds' it most certainly is. The views from here are spectacular. We could see the river in the distance. All the inca ruins we saw so far seem to have been built strategically. The kind of thought and engineering that must have gone into these ancient structures is unimaginable.
A section of the ruins of Phuyupatamarca 

The view of the river from Phuyupatamarca

View form the top
We hurried back on our way. It was almost evening and we wanted to get back before it was dark. It was a little difficult finding our camp site as there were close to 15 teams camping in Winay Wyana. Luckily everyone was friendly and helped us get to our spot. We hurriedly dumped our bags and headed to see the ruin of Winay Wyana.
Winay Wyana
Winay Wyana  is beautiful, the biggest among the ruins we have seen so far.  We were told by our guide that the ruin is possibly much bigger as sections of the forest around it haven't been cleared yet!!!!
The entrance to the ruin

'Winay Wyana' in Quecha means 'Forever Young'. It was supposed to serve as agricultural terraces . There were several beautiful rooms on the top of the ruin overlooking the entire region. The view was amazing! The setting sun was the perfect foil to this incredible location.

Perfect locations and big groups call out loud for a picture. So we requested a fellow traveller while we stood and smiled.  The picture taken we walked away. It was only when I aimed my camera for the next shot that I realized I was missing the camera cover. Precious that it is, I panicked. I was certain I hadn't lost it. We combed the area and there seemed to be no trace of it. The only possible explanation was it wasn't returned. We looked in vain for the guy who took the previous picture. But he had long since gone.  My mind was swimming with thoughts . How could I have been so careless and how on earth were we to find a perfect stranger among hundreds of trekkers camping. We walked to the camping site and S spotted the guide with whom the other group was visiting the ruin. In broken spanish we explained to her that the gentleman who took our picture probably inadvertently took the camera cover. She promised us that she would speak to him once he was back and   we left giving her details of our camp site.

We walked around and then walked back to our camp site.  Everyone was more relaxed with the hardest part of the hike behind us. Everyone got there and dinner ended with a celebratory note with the chef bringing in a freshly baked cake!!!!!!... How someone managed to make something like that without an oven is a question we couldn't answer (and he didn't either :)). But the cake was one of the yummiest I have eaten.  Just as I as devouring this dessert something sweeter surfaced. The stranger who took our group picture at Winay Wyana that evening came by to return the camera cover. He had accidentally and probably by habit of taking pictures put it in his pocket. God Bless him!

We were told about the need to rise early the next day and warned about the hordes that were trying to get there :). Having walked a good 15 km we were ready to go to bed :)



  1. beautiful landscapes and great pics !!!

  2. wow...the place is must be so overwhelming, to be on top of the world :) would love to be there
    Keep sharing....

  3. Thanks Megha :)... It most certainly was...
    Writing in a hurry so that i dont forget ;)...
    Keep visiting :)

  4. Thanks Neeraja :)... It was really beautiful!



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