Stepping through the entrance gates of Machu Picchu, I couldn’t help but feel excited. I was running on a few hours of sleep and I had just finished a long trek through Peru and braved some of the world’s scariest mountain roads the day before. The morning fog was thick and the mist was tickling my bare arms as we ventured up the path to the main attraction. We had timed it just right, we were there early enough to see the sun come up and break apart the mountain clouds to reveal the ancient Inca city.
When we finally reached the city edge I was awestruck. I just stood there and tried to take it all in. Coming out of the fog before us were the multiple crop tiers that I’d become accustomed to seeing in photographs. They moved down the hill as far as I could see into the fog and up the hill just the same. In the distance I could make out the rough shapes of the city’s residential structures and up the hill I could barely see the guardhouse that protected the city. We made our way up the steep staircases, past the guardhouse and to the edge of the city but still the fog was too thick to see it all. Realizing we had some time before the mountainside would show itself, we hiked the narrow trail to the Inca Bridge, which is the back entrance to the city, and then back. We then perched ourselves on some rocks and watched as the clouds slowly rolled out of view and voila- Machu Picchu.