The 4th day along the trail we were woke at 4am and considering the long day yesterday, this seemed rather early, but if we wanted to get to the Sun Gate before the light hit Machu Picchu we had to muster ourselves quickly.
The Sun Gate or Intipunku as it is known here was the old guard house for the ancient city, and as we found the perfect place to watch the sun come up on the mountain side.
It was still a long hike and we had to use headlamps to help keep us on the trail in the dark. There was a checkpoint where we had our passports checked, and this is where I had found I was not allowed to bring paints into Machu Picchu. No paints, no tripods, no selfie sticks. They were rather strict on the “do’s and don’ts” but it is a National treasure and I was not going to put up an argument.
Just before Intipunku were the “Monkey Steps” or “Gringo Killer” as many called it, and for good reason. This part of the Inca Trail was steps that went almost straight up. This was created this way to help defend the entrance from invaders, and maybe people over the age of 60 like me.
At the top was the guard house, and what we had marched all these miles for, what Hiram Bingham had thought was the “Lost City of the Inca’s”. A complex of ancient buildings, temples, shrines, homes, all sitting in the saddle of the mountain peaks. It was breathtaking to view.
There are few who get to watch the sunrise on the city of the Inca’s from the Sun Gate. This privilege is reserved to those who actually hike the Inca trail, this exclusivity had not yet sunk in. What was sinking in was this amazing complex here thousands of feet up in the mountains built centuries ago for some unknown reason, and I was now here.
The sun was now hitting Huanya Picchu and working it’s way down the mountain as we stood in silent reverie.
Then Nick our guide snapped us to, gathered us for photos and off to the Inca Citadel we went.
“Intipunku, Waiting for the Light”