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Archive for October 16th, 2020

Hoorah!! I did it! I finished walking the Inca Trail; virtually πŸ˜ƒπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Hoorah!

My walk today; 10.38kms took me over the finish line by .08km and challenge #4 is complete. As always the postcard that popped into my mailbox is gorgeous and really makes me want to walk the trail for real. But its quite a long way away, so I shall settle for having walked it virtually.

Machu Picchu

Voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca citadel steeped in mystery and myth. Thought to have been built on the request of the incumbent Emperor Pachacuti as a royal estate, Machu Picchu is an engineering marvel. Built without mortar, the stones are cut so precisely, they fit perfectly together. Sitting atop two fault lines, during earthquakes the stones knock against each other and then fall back into place.

The rise and fall of the Inca Empire lasted a mere 130 years. Following the Spanish invasion of the Inca Empire in early 16th century, Machu Picchu was abandoned with the Spanish unlikely to have ever seen it. Left to the elements the citadel was grown over by vegetation and forgotten over the centuries until 1911 when Hiram Bingham III of Yale University, visited the site as part of an expedition in search of another city. Returning the following year, Bingham spent 4 months with local labour to clear the vegetation and the next 3 years excavating and studying discovered artifacts.

From here the final descent into Aguas Calientes is on a hair-raising 9km zig-zag mountain road called Hiram Bingham Hwy. Barely wide enough to fit two cars and lacking guardrails, it is an unsealed road and a rough ride that is not for the faint of heart nor for those who are prone to vertigo.

Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, book yourself into a thermal bath to rest and recover your weary body. Take a walk through the local craft market before settling in for dinner. Try the Peruvian national drink, the Pisco Sour, whilst indulging in the spicy and bold flavours of Peruvian cuisine.

Fantastic!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

My ‘real’ walk was a little more mundane, but no less satisfying. I had a plan, hmmm??πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ to follow the river from Lewes to Newhaven. It looks easy enough on Google maps and I spent a few hours last night researching possible routes. But none of them were really clear so today I decided to scout the route as far as possible, and see how far I could get.

Not very far as it turned out πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

At 2.74kms I faced a wee challenge, a very locked gate and the possibility of unwanted company.

I debated climbing over the gate, but after consideration thought it would be rude and didn’t fancy getting halfway across the field only to find said πŸ‚ behind me!!

So instead, I retraced my steps and returned to town.

I then decided to follow the river upstream, since downstream wasn’t quite working out. Much better route.

Very pretty, lots of green and a fab path. I crossed over the river via a pedestrian bridge and found myself on the Sussex Ouse Valley Way, and a very walkable path.

The views of the river and valley are just perfect and its well away from any traffic, except for the occasional cyclist.

I walked for quite a distance – I could see the Offam church spire peeping up between the trees, the same forests where the Battle of Lewes was fought in 1264

and here I encountered a whole herd of cattle. I walked on some way but in the distance I could see a cow bellowing loudly and having a hissy fit, so before she got the whole bunch worked up, I retreated…as Henry III should really have considered…

This fellow wasn’t one bit interested

Once back over the river, I did a bit of a dogleg and discovered a disused railway line….heading enticingly off into the distance. Not very far according to a local lady, just 1km. So I shall head back that way next week and walk it.

Then with just 3kms to go I headed back to work and after going around the block twice LOL I finally reached 10.38kms and my break was over. But I reached my goal and completed the Inca Trail.

I do so love walking and could really just keep going….

Scenes from the walk
Looks a bit like a bow and arrow…

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I received my latest Inca Trail postcard last night.

Walking the Inca Trail – virtually πŸ˜ƒ

This is one of the features of virtually walking  @the_conqueror_challenges

I love the history and the stories that accompany the postcards.

Surfacing from the cloud forest of the Runkuraqay Pass, the trail commences its descent towards the ruins of Sayacmarca with sweeping views of the Pumahuanca Mountain.

Continue on to Phuyupatamarca, one of the most intact Inca ruins, and stop to enjoy the snow-capped view of Mt Salcantay. At 6,200m, Mt Salcantay is the tallest mountain in the region. It’s Quecha name translates as wild, uncivilized, savage and as such is often referred to as Savage Mountain. The summit of Mt Salcantay was first conquered in 1952 by a French-American expedition. No easy feat since the “climb involves 1,800m of vertical gain, on glacier, snow, ice, and some rock.”

Trek onwards to Intipata and Winay Wayna, both known for their agricultural terraces and their convex shape of the terrain, to finally reach the Sun Gate for a breathtaking aerial view of Machu Picchu. Once a fortress, the Sun Gate was the main entrance to Machu Picchu and most likely guarded by imperial guards. Given the strict controls over entries, it is believed that only royalty and select guests were permitted to visit.

The first postcard arrived 5 days ago, shortly after I started the challenge; its beautiful and the history is fascinating.

The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is part of a much larger road network. At the height of its power, the Inca Empire stretched 4,023km from modern day Ecuador to Argentina. The Inca road system was one of the most advanced transportation structures of its time, linking together 40,000km of roadway. The road system provided for quick and reliable logistical support, civilian and military communication, personnel movement on official duty and control over the Empire by dispatching troops when necessary. Following the Spanish conquest in the 1500s much of the network was abandoned and destroyed. In order to preserve the history and restore parts of the network the Inca Road System, officially known as Andean Road System, entered the UNESCO register in 2014.

Much of the Inca Trail is the original construction. Imagine that with every step you take someone laid the roadway beneath your feet some 500 years ago.

The ascent to Dead Woman’s Pass is both dreaded and revered. It is the most rigorous climb reaching heights of 4,215m in a such a high altitude environment where the oxygen level is low making breathing shallower and the effort needed to move forwards greater. In the same breath overcoming the difficulty and strenuousness of the climb is also the most rewarding moment.

Following a steep descent into the valley of the pass comes a second ascent to Runkuraqay Pass. On the way are the ruins of a tampu, which was an administrative and military structure used for supplies, lodgings and depositories of quipu-based accounting records.

Quipu was a record keeping system of different knots tied in ropes attached to a longer cord. It was used in lieu of writing since the Incas did not have an alphabet based writing system.

The tampu was served by conscripted individuals from nearby communities, as part of the mit’a labor system. Mit’a was mandatory public service used as the labor force to build roads, bridges, terraces and fortifications.

Isn’t that fantastic. So much thought has gone into creating these postcards and the information provided is something I would not have known unless I actually did some research.

Getting the postcards is a massive encouragement to increase my kms ASAP 🀣🀣🀣🀣

If you’d like to join me on these virtual challenges, you can sign up here via my link. You don’t have to join a team, I didn’t, but there are loads of teams if you fancied walking with other folks.

This is not an affiliate link and I don’t make any money from people signing up, but you get a 10% discount on any walks you sign up for and I think I get a 10% discount as well….which is a moot point really since I’ve already signed up for all the walks I want to do πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ for now anyway. Of course they may well introduce other walks, in which case, I guess I’ll sign up for them. I am just a tad addicted.

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