We got up this morning and had a great breakfast. We packed up and were getting ready to leave when Elio got a group of porters together and told them to grab a rolled up sleeping mat and line up in 2 lines. Then he had each one of them run down the middle of the 2 lines and everyone tried to hit them with the sleeping mats. It was really funny to watch and Ed even decided to run thru the lines as well!

Next he got a group of porters and the guy hikers and they had a tug of war competition. The porters won so they gave the hikers another chance. Both groups were so strong they broke the rope!

Here is a picture of me with the ruins in the background before we set off.
We got to hike thru a few caves which made me feel like quite the adventurer.
 We summited our 3rd pass, Phuyupatamarca and had a great welcoming from our porters at the top. They were a great group of men and words can’t express my appreciation for all they did for us. We got some great pictures with them. They also let me try on one of their packs. It was so heavy! I can’t even begin to understand how they RUN up these hills wearing those packs. Only respect for them.
 
 From here we stopped at a ruin, drank some Incan water filtered thru Ed’s magic water filter and headed down hill.
I was LOVING hiking downhill! Finally I wasn’t gasping for air. People who had bad knees struggled a bit on this part of the hike but we all made it. This day of hiking was so much more enjoyable than the others since I wasn’t struggling to breathe. I took more time to look around and enjoy the views.
Along this entire route I saw so many butterflies. I felt as if they were my personal cheerleaders as they always appeared when I was tired, struggling to breath or doubting myself. They helped distract me from the internal conversations I was having with myself. I also came across this beautiful caterpillar on the hike as well.
Our awesome guides Ed and Elio.
Their ongoing support, patience and sense of humor made something that was completely mentally and physically challenging ~ completely achievable!
 
We stopped at Intipata which was a beautiful ruin. Stairs were steep coming down but it was a lovely walk and our campsite was in view.

 


We got to camp early and were met by several llamas. We had a lovely lunch, relaxed a bit and then went on another adventure.

In less than a 15 minute hike from the campsite were the ruins called Winaywayna which means “forever young”. This site is also known as the “Mini Machu Pichu. It is built into a steep hillside over looking the Urubamba River with the terraces for farming and agriculture that we have seen at so many of the ruins we have been to along the hike. It was absolutely breathtaking.

 

 

After Ed and Elio gave us a brief history of the site, Katie lead us thru a 30 minute yoga lesson and Elio lead us thru a guided meditation. It was a beautiful way to end the day.


We had an early dinner. Afterwards,  each of us thanked our porters for all that they did for us and our groupp tipped them for their services and called it an early night.