by Chris Thompson

Holding back tears I experienced a tremendous feeling of awe, looking down on to magnificent Machu Picchu from Intipunku (Sun Gate), at the end of my four-day trek. The reality of an interest born from a 7 year olds school project far exceeded the many photographs, brochures and documentaries relating to this unique site.

28 miles over 4 days is not that great. However, the altitude can cause problems in the strongest hikers. We six friends (including 2 children) spent 3 nights in Cusco to ready ourselves for the Inca Trail. Limiting ourselves to 10kg per person proved difficult, from sunblock to ski jacket and the invaluable wet wipes!

In this limited space it is hard to convey the feelings of fatigue, elation, wonder and excitement we experienced during this trek. Learning to do the “Inca Walk” up and down the, often-steep stairways, trying without success to slide a credit card between the huge stones in the many sites and trying to fathom how without wheels they moved mountains – literally! Orchids growing wild and the serene beauty of the snow-capped Andes was a fitting prelude to the finale of Machu Picchu a true wonder to behold.