Machu Picchu

May, 2013

I have been facinated by Machu Picchu since reading about it at Mifflin Elementary school. With my bucket list currently focused on continents, Machu Picchu was the perfect opportunity to see the summer home of the ancient Inca Gods, and scratch South America off the list at the same time.

Never one to do things the easy way, I passed on the luxury train from Cusco Peru to Machu Picchu, and instead decided to backpack the Inca Trail, humping over 30 miles in four days and climbing through Dead Woman Pass at over 12,000 feet before droping through the sun gate at Machu Picchu. Unlike the majority of my fellow trekers, I decided not to have sherpas carry my gear, so I was also carrying a 35lb pack. (The crew of sherpas did carry all the food and tents for everyone on the expedition.) Proving once again that old Marines don't get any smarter with age.

First, a day to aclimate to the altitude in Cusco - around 9,000 feet.  

Cuy is a Peruivan dish that you might recognize as Guinea Pig.

Suprisingly, not that tasty, in spite of my love of all food in the pig category (I love his little, crispy foot).

Never thought of my child hood pet, Bulwinkle once... until now.

Off we go. Started in a light rain, but had mostly great weather, with temps in the 60s and plenty of sun.

Three night's luxury accommodation.

Actually, the food was great, a chef and entire crew made the trek with us.

 

I was so tired each night that sleeping was never a problem

So after walking up and down stairs, stairs (3000 irregular steps down on the third day alone)...

 

 

... and more stairs (don't look down). No hand rail, and a 1300 foot drop on the left.

Yikes!

I arrived. Probably the hardest thing I've done since bootcamp.

My advice if you go (and do go by all means)... take the train.

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor Maine

July, 2013

Because of a screw-up with the airfare to Peru (certainly NOT my fault... Ok a little my fault... Ok my fault), I was left holding airfare credit of about $600 that I had to use in 2013. This got me thinking about places that I'd always wanted to see, but couldn't see myself paying to go to. The top of that list was Acadia National Park in "down east" Maine. July in Maine was a great experience, ate some lobstah, hiked miles of trails and killed 40,000 well-fed mosquitoes.

I hiked the costal trail from the point in the distance (about 3 miles) into Bar Harbor (about 5 more miles)

Puffins live on rocky islands 10-20 miles off the coast. As I am not the swimmer I used to be, I took a charter boat ride out to see these amazing little birds. They're about the size of a small chicken, and 30% head.

My little mosquito magnet in the Maine woods.

 

Had only one real weather day, and even that made for some amazing photo opps.  

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