Peru Day 8 – Machu Picchu (and a nightmare!) Continuation…

OK sorry about the few days break its hard to get internet here sometimes.  So where was I, that´s right I was hiking up to the summit of Waynapichu the steep 70 degree sloping mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu.  I climbed slowly, drank often, got passed a lot and took 9 rolls of film on the way up.  About 2/3 up I came across some Incan ruins (The Temple of the Moon) and kept going, to get to the very summit you have to crawl through this cave that is so small you have to get your pack off.  But I kept going until I came to a pile of boulders that made the summit.  You go under the boulders and reach a small ladder.  It was at the base of this ladder I twisted my knee, it hurt but since I was there this guy with a walkie-talkie helped me up the ladder and voila I was at the summit of the mountain and it was 1pm.  I rested there for about 20 minutes.  Several of us joked around, the guy with the walkie-talkie took my picture on the rock (with Machu Pichu in the background) and I even tried to get a spherical panorama (since I had lugged the rig all the way up on my backpack).  Oh yeah in addition to my vest and my freshly sown pants I purchased a Peruvian backpack to bring my camera gear.

Well since it took me almost 3 hours to get up I figured I better head down at at 1:20 started to head down when I realized just how bad I messed up my knee!  Pain with every step.  I started slowly down.  Always one step at a time,sometimes on my butt, sometimes on my hands and knees.  Now I’m starting to get muddy and I see I’m covered in bug bites that are actually bleeding. You can imagine the mess I look.  People start to come down and pass me one at a time asking if they can help and if I am ok.  I tell them not to worry I made it up and will make it down.

After about 20 minutes I figure out what´s wrong with me knee.  It hurts when I bend it – not when I put pressure on it.  So I start down sideways one step at a time.  Then to my shock at about 1:45 I run out of water – that right I drank the entire 2 liters!

I haven´t eaten anything yet all day cause I thought I would meet up with Tim for lunch so I grab a hard candy and keep slowly going down when the man with with walkie-talkie asks if I need help.  Then I realize.  He works here and I’m the last one on the mountain.  He offers to get a stretcher and have them carry me off the mountain but I refuse.  I can do it I tell him just slowly.  He takes off my pack, and my empty water, and my vest, puts them in the pack and hands me a walking stick and we go down together.  He keeps insisting I go slow, and continues to offer the stretcher (which I think would be worse!).

Finally at 2:55 I arrive at the base and sign out where I signed in (this is a security thing so they get everyone off the mountain).  Several of the people who passed me where waiting to see how I was and gave me water and power bars.  I tried to give the guy who carried my bag down some money and he only took it when I explained it was because he saved me not because he carried my bag.

I realized I would never find Tim so I headed for the exit.  It took me till 4:30 to find me way out and I bussed back to the hotel.  On the way I get a bandage to put pressure on the knee and some Gatorade (which they sell a lot of).  At the hotel I left Tim a note and got some food and drink.

Tim showed up about 7pm.  He waited for me at the last bus and then came back and ate himself.  It turns out he didn’t see Mach Pichu either and went the other direction towards the Incan train and hike up to the entrance gate that way.  I went and had a massage (they did a great job on my knee) and we agree to go back to Machu Picchu on Tuesday to see it and photograph it nice and slow.

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]