This morning we took a bus to a train to a bus to get to Machu Picchu (good thing Don took his Dramamine). We had beautiful weather, some sun and about 68 degrees. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. It is the most familiar icon of the Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later about the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu is in such a beautiful location it is easy to see why the Incas built it here. After we went on a morning tour with our group and then had a late lunch, we took the hike up to the Sun Gate. Unfortunately we did not get to go the whole way since we got such a late start (the Sun Gate closes earlier than the rest of the property). We made it almost the whole way though and got some great views from the trail. It was a very steep trail, going up 1,000 feet in elevation in about a mile (13th picture shows how steep the trail is). The trail is also the last part of the Inca Trail, so we have officially hiked part of the Inca Trail.