Our third day was the longest day. We hiked 15 km and for about 10 hours. We descended from Winayhuayna and arrived in camp just before night fall and, luck for us, 30 minutes before the all night rainfall. The morning of our fourth day on the Inca trail we woke up at 3:40 am. We had to hurry and get in line for the last check point. Not much later we lined up to find we were pretty close to the front - still the office would not open until 5:30 am so we waited. Once the office opened the line went quick and we were off on another 2 hour hike to the Sun Gate. We began the short descent toward Machu Picchu stopping along the way, just below the clouds, for our first glance at Machu Picchu. Seeing it from above with the clouds seeming to clear even more sparked our excitement again. We made it to Machu Picchu all stacked up like dominoes with all the other trail groups. It was definitely more hectic than we expected, crowded like a normal tourist attraction but we waited our turn and finally got a group shot with that "postcard background" of our own. Machu Picchu feels much more special when you put yourself in the shoes of the Incas and gives you a different perspective as you stand on the sacred grounds viewing out over what it left of the strong temples and terraces on this high and mighty mountain surrounded by pristine jungle.
It is located 3,300–3,400 meters above sea level, near the town of Písac in the Urubamba Valley. The Intihuatana was so-called because the Incas are believed to have “tied” the sun to a hitching post during sunrise on the solstice to stop it from going any further away. It is said to be important in telling Inca when to harvest their crops. Archaeologists believe that it was used for making astronomical observations and calculating the passing of time.