PACAYMAYU - WIĐAYHUAYNA
is considered the longest part of the trail. Although the differences
in height are not big, it is a long hike. A second pass must be
overcome where one can find the impressive archaeological
remains of Runkuracay, situated at 3800 m.a.s.l. ( Approximately
Runkurakay takes it name from its half circle shape with a single entrance way with seven door-holes leading off into seven different rooms. The semicircular shape allows for shelter from the strong winds in the area.
we descend towards the Yanacocha lake (the Black
Lake) arriving in Sayaqmarca, "the Dominant village", an interesting
Inca ruin on the top of steep mountain, with a panoramic view over
the Acobamba valley and the snow clad Pumasillo peak. It is in the
shape of a maze of very narrow streets, some which lead off to other
places, others that are dead ends.
The only way to access these buildings is through a steep but solid
staircase of stone on the cliff side. The chasm on one side is filled
with exotic plants such as orchids and lichens. It is like being
inside a real living picture postcard. A memory to cherish forever.
During the walk you will pass by Conchamarka, a recently discovered
small archaeological site and the Chakicocha camp, a spacious open
area with public toilet facilities and water. After this, we continue
uphill and we will come to the first tunnel along the trail. It
is about 20 metres (approximately 60 ft) long, downwards sloping
with steps hewn out of the living rock.
we continue uphill until we reach the third and last pass along
the trail with the citadel of Phuyupatamarca, "Village above
the clouds", which is undoubtedly one of the most original
citadels along the Inca Trail. It is surrounded by the Cloud Forest.
It is located on the edge of a gulch that overlooks the Urubamba.
Here you will find many cultivation terraces and ceremonial fountains
with fresh water.
In the upper part there is a small square, where on sunny days one
can appreciate the beauty ofthe Urubamba and the nearby snow-clad
peaks. In the lower part there are circular constructions that look
like they were following the gradient of the terrain. Close to the
Phuyupatamarca pass the road starts winding downwards on circling
snail shell like massive stone gradients until it reaches a second
tunnel. After that the road goes along relatively plane cornices
that follow the Urubamba River, until we reach Wi˝ayhuayna.
"for ever young", is found at an altitude of de 2644 m.a.s.l. (Approximately
8675 ft) and the name is derived from the typical orchids that can
be found all year round with their red, yellow and violet flowers.
This is possibly the most attractive of all the citadels along the
Inca Trail, and the last urban centre before reaching Machu Picchu.
It was built on the steep mountain slopes on the left bank of the
Urubamba. It is divided into four principal parts: the living quarters,
in the lower part with more than 20 buildings, the area holding
the Ritual fountains, the area with cultivation terraces and the
Tower area. This last holds the best architecture of the whole complex,
thus being assumed to have served religious purposes or belonged
to the Inca Royalty.
The traveller camps out in Wi˝ayhuayna.
Time on the Trail: Seven hours until reaching the last camp at Wi˝ayhuayna.