June 11 was the long awaited day for many who came on the trip: our day at Machu Picchu. To get to Machu Picchu we took the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. The train ride to Machu Picchu followed the Urubamba River, the train rocking to the left and right with every turn of the waterway. One gentleman passed our seats looking decisively green. When we arrived we hiked up the town’s hilly streets to the Ministry of Culture office for our tickets to Machu Picchu. Mist shrouded the neighboring mountains as the bus moved slowly up the winding road to the ruins. Inside the ruins, we divided into groups. Myself and another anthropology student started the Sun Gate hike while Mr. Skufis and Dr. Barrett stayed behind to take pictures of the ruins. The Sun Gate hike takes a person far above the ruins of Machu Picchu, presenting an opportunity to look down on the remnants of the city below.
Alpaca grazed along the trail as we hiked toward the Sun Gate. We paced ourselves on the climb, taking breaks for pictures of the mist covered ruins of Machu Picchu below. We reached the Sun Gate just as the sun decided to peek out. Looking back at Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate was worth the hike. I celebrated the victory with a bag of turkey jerky, a piece of bread from our hostal and the crumbled remains of a Fiber One brownie. As I munched on my victory meal, three of the other members joined us. We relaxed, hydrated, and snacked, enjoying the view before we started back down as we had to be back at the train station before 6 o’clock. We returned to the town at the base of Machu Picchu where we bought pizza and shopped before heading back to the train station