Old Mountain, Old Habits, New Territory


That picture is just to let you know we actually made it to the top of Machu Picchu, at over 3,500 meters in elevation. It’s hard for me to put into words what it feels like to hike, anything or everything. Maybe the best way to put it is just, one moment you’re down there looking up at what looks like infinity, the next you’re up there thinking about how you were just down there. And now you’re neither place at all. Just no longer there.


I sat up at Machu Picchu for an hour, writing, talking to friends I met along the way, fingers crossed Dad would make it up as well. And he did! As is evidenced by photo #1. Everyone thinks Wayna Picchu is the peak to hike but as you can see (it’s the one you can see across the valley in that picture) it’s half the size of Machu Picchu, which means Old Mountain, and Wayna Picchu means Young Mountain.

I felt so lucky today. I have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be here, to be who I am, where I am. I walked to Sun Gate after lunch, and was so struck by all the trekkers entering the gate as the end of the Inca Trail.


Seeing trekkers reach the gate, screaming, crying, crumpling, I was reminded of how I entered Santiago, and only after a few minutes let it sink in enough to fall apart. And it has not stopped since, the propensity to give myself away to falling apart when I need to or have someone to catch me – the kindness of strangers that become family. And family is all we have.


This city, these ruins, this life before life is so freeing. Even photos make it seem artificial.


Watching the sun set behind Wayna Picchu I decided to wake up tomorrow to get to Machu Picchu to see the sunrise, especially since the Incans were worshippers of the sun, with their temples, gates, and sundials.


One day, I’ll be back on the Inca Trail. I’m only realizing now how much and how little time I have left.