Monday 11th November 1985
The trail is now well paved, often wide enough for two to pass, although we barely meet another soul. Laid with a hard white stone, and beautiful views as the trail clings to the edge of the mountain, at one point the trial negotiates a cleft in the rock where the Incas have carved a staircase.
We make it up to the third pass. Tom and Francesca have gone ahead. Chris and Barbara are resting back at Sayajmarca slowed down by a dose of Atahualpa's Revenge. Cloudy at the pass, but while we eat our oranges the clouds part like a curtain and there, a mile below us, is the swirling Urubamba river. The valley is much narrower now, than further upstream where we started the trail.
The stunning scenery continues as we gently descend to the ruins of Phuyupatamarka at the head of another steep valley, about 3.75 miles form the pass. Many terraces turn the steep slopes into productive land, and a chain of baths still with running water. The ruins are being cleared by a team of workmen who spend 3 weeks up here and then one off back in their village. Lovely curvy stone walls, flights of steps and precipitous views. Lunch.
Long flight of steps out of the ruins onto recently uncovered Inca trail and first opened to trekkers this summer, and the best bit of the trail, often 6 feet wide. Two tambos, or small lodges, a tunnel, carved spiral steps, a real Inca highway.
Trail stops suddenly, as if blasted away, at a row of electricity pylons, and we have a steep muddy descent to a hostal in the middle of no where, a white elephant built by the tourist board, already seems to be cracking up. The caretaker, Rosa, and her child, sells us a beer and we slip past to the ruins of Winya Wayna where we camp illegally and in splendid isolation. We fetch water for soup from the base of 150' waterfall.