Last month I talked about hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. That was my second trip there but the first was via train and bus. Although the mode of travel was quite different, the magic of Machu Picchu is there for any to find. One has a great appreciation for the engineering feat that was accomplished to create this iconic site. Because it is located on a mountain with steep slopes the 70+ inches of rainfall each year would easily wash away the topsoil if measures weren't taken to help drain the water. The Incas built layers of sand, gravel and topsoil in terraces so they might raise their crops. Walking alongside the terraces gives you immense admiration for what they accomplished.
Going up higher on the mountain also gives you a better perspective on the layout of the whole area. You can almost imagine the Incas coming and going from the houses to the temple.
The llamas and alpacas like to graze on the upper heights, too, so you usually have a chance to see them with this beautiful background.
When you hike the Inca Trail there are porters who carry tents, food and other gear. They gather early morning in some of the villages near the beginning of the trek to hire on for the trip. Their colorful blankets stand out on the mountainous trails as they pass you carrying their packs. Some have made this trip regularly for 15-20 years.