April 26, 2006

Prep: Estes Park, Colorado

Students participating in a preparatory retreat in Estes Park, Colorado in the month of April where they met each other, learned about leadership and practiced many of the techniques that they will be using on the Inca Trail.

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Travel route map

Day-by-day live reports

  • Day 1: Cuzco video
    After arriving in the capital city of Lima, Peru, students took a short flight to the city of Cuzco. Once the capital of the famous Inca Empire, Cuzco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its historic architecture and archeology. At 11,000 feet (3360 meters) above sea level, Cuzco provides students an opportunity to begin acclimating to the new altitude. In the afternoon, students visited the nearby Inca ruins of Sacsahuaman, Kenko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.
  • Day 2: The Pisac Market video
    Students visited the Pisac Market and the ruins of Ollantaytambo. At the Sunday market in Pisac, it’s easy to imagine this historic town as a major Inca trading city. Handicrafts at the market include weavings, carved gourds, ceramics, textiles, alpaca sweaters, musical instruments, paintings, weavings, and jewelry. Ollantaytambo is an old Inca fortress set along the Urubamba river in the picturesque mountain valley.
  • Day 3: Maras Moray/Ollanta/Pacchar
    Students took a bus to visit Moray: an experimental agricultural center from the Inca period. Form there, they continued to the town of Maras and walked to Pichingoto. They hopped on a bus and headed to Pacchar for their first night of camping.
  • Day 4: Pacchar/Chilipahua
    The trek began today from the Parpichu Bridge. Students climbed Watuq’asa pass (12,795 ft / 3900 m) where there is an Inca wall and fortress known as Qosqoq’awarina (“the place where one can see Cuzco”). Students descended from the pass to a small valley with a stream running through it called Anapahua and then headed up the valley to their campsite at the settlement of Chilipahua (12,140 ft / 3,700 m).
  • Day 5: Chilipahua
    Today students visited the community of Chilipahua where they conducted a community service project side-by-side with local residents.
  • Day 6: Chilipahua/Ankascocha
    Today students reached their second highest pass: Pampaq’asa (14,435 ft / 4,400 m). Once over the pass, students lunched by the Silque river. Students continued walking until reaching their campsite at Ankascocha (12,795 ft / 3,900 m).
  • Day 7: Ankascocha/Keska
    Students climbed the highest pass called Ankascocha (15,650 ft / 4,770 m). With snow-capped peaks all around, the trail continued past small farmsteads and patchwork fields to the Keska Valley and Paucarcancha, a recently restored Inca site that was once a checkpoint at the confluence of the Keska and Pampacahua valleys. Camp was pitched near the village of Keska (11,810 ft / 3,600 m).
  • Day 8: Keska/Q’ente
    Students followed the Cusichaca Valley through Huayllabamba, a village of corn farmers, to Q’ente which overlooks the Urubamba River. This area is dotted with Inca sites such as Cusichaca, Q’entemarca, Machu Q’ente and Wayna Q’ente. Students left the snow-capped peaks behind and entered the lusher, tropical surroundings, camping at the edge of the Urubamba River.
  • Day 9: Q’ente / Machu Picchu
    Students took a short train trip to Chachabamba and hiked to the famous Inca ruins at Winay Wayna. Here, they joined the standard Inca Trail which cuts across the ridge to Intipunku (“the door of the sun”)—a major entry point for Machu Picchu. After touring the famous ruins, students spent the night in Aguas Calientes.
  • Day 10: Machu Picchu / Cuzco
    Students took a guided tour of Machu Picchu, learning about the history that makes this such a special place. They returned by train to Cuzco.

Documentary Film: Fellowship of the Andes

Pilgrimm Pictures is producing an hour long documentary film about the Leading the Way experience to be released in New York City in the Fall of 2006. Visit their web site for more information.

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