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Day 1 - Porters deciding how to split the loads before we start

The bridge over the Orubamba River - there is a government checkpoint before the bridge to ensure your name is on that day's list.

Tecoma Sambucifolia - one of the many flowers we found on the trail. All of them also appear on our flowers page.

Prickly pear showing the white products of the cochineal parasite - when squeezed, these turn a vivid red

Inca ruins

First village rest house - on this first day,there were a number of these where one can buy food and water, but none after that.

Turning away from the main river valley.

The lunch tent pitched all ready for us by our efficient porters

Evening at Huaylabamba - pitching the toilet tent

View of another group of overnight tents

Day 2 - A very early start for the big ascent

The surface of the Inca trail is generally extremely good, much of it with paving from Inca times. The steeper section sections are stepped as here

Porters resting. They wear very light footwear and carry heavy loads including gas canisters.

Looking forward to the Dead Widow's Pass

....and looking back on those behind us

Nearly there

The summit itself

and a delicious lunch waiting just over the summit

Steeper and stonier going down

First sighting of the Pacamayo campsite where we are spending the night

View from our tent (stone toilet block on the right - good clean facilities but only cold water. Near the toilet block gets more noise, but is a great help when it is wet or dark. Best to take lots of earplugs!

Day 3 - an early start in a light drizzle

It's good to have a light cagoule to cover oneself and one's pack

Inca watchtower

and seen from above

A mysterious lake

. . . and an Inca tunner

It is still raining but no-one is disheartened

The rain continues

Inca command post

The view is magnificent in good weather!

Humming bird's nest (top left)

The trail continues

Teddy, our excellent guide who was very helpful on the birds and flowers

More Inca tunnels

Lunch tent near the second summit

The second pass at last

Inca fortress

and cloudscape

Weather improving

Lots more flowers

and marvellous views of the mountains

You can buy these lightweight bamboo poles at the start of the trail and they are nearly as good as the aluminium extensible sticks we brought with us

A small entrance

leading to another impressive Inca tunnel

Distant snows

and porters fascinated at looking at the snow through binoculars till the light faded

Day 4 - our last breakfast, with porridge as usual

The river carves a very tortuous path through the mountains, and the railway follows it.

We are luckier with the weather today

for our first view of Macchupicchu

Recess for hinge in Inca masonry

The temple of the 3 windows

Macchupicchu is surrounded

by extensive Inca terracing

Lunch in Aguas Calientes

before catching the afternnon train back to Cusco

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