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Llamas, Early Morning Fog

The plateau upon which Machu Picchu rests is reached by bus. The last part of the trail is a walk up a winding path to magnificent vistas over the valley to the adjoining peaks. This walk is challenging in itself because of the altitude. I was short of breath while David was unencumbered and able to carry my heavy camera bag without a problem. The bottom of the trail starts in the small town of Aguas Calientes. David decided to hike the mountain from the bottom in the dark just before dawn in order to see the sunrise. After you hike to the plateau there is another mile or more hike to higher elevation at the Sun Gate. David hooked up with a fit female climber at dawn. It turns out David had no problem with this altitude. Julia and I took the bus to the plateau and hiked the remaining trail to the Sun Gate. I was tachycardic, sweating and short of breath, but we made it before sunrise. I watched a group of guides running down the trail with a teenage girl who had collapsed from the altitude. As Julia and I started our brisk trek from the plateau, this sight in the morning fog made a signature image.

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