Thursday, August 20, 2009
My climb to view Machu Picchu
|It had been 22 years since I'd climbed Huayna Picchu, the famous mountain in Peru that overlooks Machu Picchu – aka the “lost city of the Incas.” I'd been reflecting on the majestic view I had witnessed as a young man, and I had been anticipating this hike for weeks. Now, I was going to behold this majesty with my two teenage daughters, gaining a whole new perspective from their vantage point.
We were worn out from the grueling hours of traveling, and the morning came early with a wake-up call at 5:10 a.m. I had barely opened my eyes when my oldest daughter, Maddy, called, distraught about a toothache that had kept her up all night. She had recently undergone several fillings – with one more to go – and her tooth was in excruciating pain. As a father, it was a tough decision: Do I encourage her to stay behind and rest or motivate her to forge ahead for this once-in-a-lifetime view? The hike, which is a fairly vertical 1,000-foot climb and could be dangerous, would be challenging. We would have to move quickly, since it was restricted to 200 people at 7 a.m. Fortunately, before I could steer Maddy either way, my younger daughter Danielle balked at the thought of her older sister getting out of the climb. She gave her the evil eye, and they were both onboard.
We didn’t think we were going to make it in when we approached the line of more than 500 people. We barely made it through, and Maddy was the first one on the trail. The girls did great, and despite her toothache, Maddy performed marvelously. Danielle was a little uneasy since she is afraid of heights. We stayed together as a family and made it up in 45 minutes. It is an arduous hike with hundreds of uneven steps. As we climbed to the top, the view was indescribable! It was absolutely breathtaking! Parks in places like Yosemite and Hawaii may parallel the beauty of Machu Picchu. The area is magnificent, and we took several pictures to try and capture the extraordinary scene.
The descent was hard, and Danielle had difficulty looking down, but we were at the bottom in 30 minutes and back to the hotel to eat after working up an appetite. Before we knew it, we hopped on the train to our next destination. My daughters and I spent the day laughing and experiencing one of the most amazing sights in the world; it doesn’t get much better than that as a father.