In the middle of the night it started raining. The tent was hot that night, but the sound of rain was ominous as we had a 4:00am wake-up call to hike to Machu Picchu. When the porters woke us, it was dark and rainy despite my prayers to Pachamama to make it stop. We rushed to get dressed and packed up, and the rain stopped briefly as we finished breakfast (pancakes with caramel!) and began our trek to the final checkpoint, just 5 minutes away. I´ve never hiked in the dark, but luckily Sallie & Fede had loaned Kelli & I their headlamps. At the checkpoint we were the second group in line and had to wait about 30 minutes for thestaff to arrive, as other groups lined up behind us. At 5:30am, tickets were checked and we were on our way to Machu Picchu, about 90 minutes away, past the Sun Gate.
As usual, I was much slower than the rest of my group, especially in the cold, dark rain. I had also decided to trek in my glasses since bringing contacts seemed like it would be a hassle. Given the lovely weather we had had for three days, it was fine. But on this super humid morning my glasses kept fogging up which only added to my slowness. A huge downpour also came our way so it was finally time to put on the sexy rain ponchos we had been packing around just in case.
Eventually I made it up to the Sun Gate with the rest of my group, but the clouds kept us from seeing anything but a layer of fluffy white. We had another 45 minutes to go, mostly downhill on now slippery steep steps – good times. The rain and clouds persisted for the final leg of our trek, so as we arrived at Machu Picchu it was still shrouded in clouds.
Off to the jungle – more when we return!