The third day was started with one last steep push up a pass. Not as big as yesterday’s pass, but still enough to get the legs burning again! By now though the legs were hardening up, and it was more easier to do. It’s amazing how after a few days the body can change and adapt to the conditions. Today we were heading back down towards the valley, and the typical mountain scenes were changing to semi tropical conditions. Most of the walk was in the shade of jungle trees, there were colourful flowers everywhere, more butterflies and even hummingbirds! This was definitely the most pleasant day, and I guess knowing it was the last night before we reached Machu Picchu made it sweet as well.
It was a long day, but pretty level and scenic. A highlight on this day, apart from the variety of tropical bird and plant species were the amazing tunnels that we passed. Ancient Incan tunnels hand cut hundreds of years earlier. Knowing that you really are following the “footsteps of the Inca” is pretty damn special indeed.
Once we arrived to camp it was a circus – this campsite has a small bar/restaurant and showers for the 500 hikers. A sort of reward for their hard work. I actually didn’t like it, as our first night we camped as our own little group away from the main lot, and the second night, while all in one camp, it was quiet (probably because everyone is exhausted after the second tough day.) This felt like a party camp, and there were lots of people drinking beer, being raucous, and not bothering to go to sleep since we had to wake at like 3am anyway. All the various groups were crammed together in this one small space, with a few ‘pit’ toilets to share between 500 or so. It was filthy. I would rather not shower and pee in the bush than have used what was available. This camp made me realise that I love being ‘wild’ and in the true ‘wilderness’. I’d take a hole in the ground over a toilet block shared with every other person on a trail any old day.
Anyway I tried to sleep, failed miserably, and before you knew it it was 3am and time to wake up for the last bit of the trail to see Machu Picchu!