Day 5: The first day of the trek to Machu Picchu. After a late, 2AM departure from our newly embraced Peruvian club, Mama Africa (odd name; we agree), we returned to our hotel only to wake up at 4AM to meet a spacious bus around 5AM. When I said spacious, I was lying. Upon arriving at a small village, Mollepata(approx 9500 feet elevation), we chowed some breakfast and loaded our gear. We finally arrived at the trailhead. The actual trek began after an hour to an hour and a half truck ride, where the 15 in our travel party cattled up in the bed of an open cargo truck. Bumpy and dusty don’t highlight the real feeling of backroading the high, dry mountains of Peru. From there, we began a simple 7-ish hour warm up hike, up to 12,600ft to camp.
This picture highlights how tiny our tent-village setup(near the center, left of the photo) cowers below Mt. Salkantay(middle right, elevation just above 20,550ft).