I spent 20 minutes on top of ‘that’ mountain I climbed and those moments I felt like I conquered the world.
I wouldn’t say the trek up was very difficult that some people cannot do – it was just very steep steps in most places and some scary ones where one needs to climb holding on to some ropes – as long as one does this slowly (stopping to slow your heart rate every few mins), I think anyone who doesn’t have a fear of heights can do it. I saw 50+ year olds doing it and my time of one hour to get to the platforms where most people go wasn’t too bad.
Still, what made it difficult (or easy, I don’t know) was that I was doing it solo. I didn’t have anyone to motivate me, talk to me, tell me I was just doing alright and that there was just x mins to the peak. I didn’t have anyone to crib to, share my fears while passing through those steep drops or ask anyone for a hand to pull me up when the steps where taller than what my legs could climb – I just had to throw my bag and camera up and jump up myself – something I wouldn’t have done if I was with A. I had to constantly tell myself not to be afraid and motivate myself. And that is what made me feel so good when I got there.
But then, when I got to the platforms, I saw these very narrow but steep steps (where my full foot wouldn’t fit!) going up – I enquired where does this lead to and they told me the actual peak of Huyanu Picchu is further up and I need to go up these stairs! After putting in so much effort to get here, I didn’t feel like returning without getting to the top. But still, even if I go up, how am I going to get down those steps? I saw another couple, who did this with their infant daughter tied to the father’s chest and I saw another grandpa making the effort and I decided not to give up – I will worry about the descent after I am done with the ascent – and hence I went up, not just those steps but a bit more difficult path after that and I reached this spot – a steep drop right behind me and machu picchu further behind. And mountains all around. And I almost cried!
PS: The descent was very scary but I managed it using all four limbs, slow and steady 🙂