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2003-01-17 - 11:11 a.m.

Machu Picchu, Day Four

Day Four begins the same for everyone, no matter which tour group you sign up with. On Day Four, you wake up at 4 am when the porter brings a cup of hot tea to your tent. You pack your bags, and you eat breakfast, and you get ready to climb up to Intipunku, the Sun Gate, to watch the sun pass through the sun gate and light up the ruins of Machu Picchu below.

Or that's what's supposed to happen. We did get up at 4, and we packed our bags, and we ate breakfast, and then proceeded to wait in front of the bathroom for certain members of our group for about 25 minutes (when I went to check up on them, they were putting on makeup - really). I didn't think it was possible to get so mad that early in the morning, but I was fuming - I hadn't walked for the past three days with a 10-kilo bag on my back to miss my once-in-a-lifetime shot at seeing the sun rise over Machu Picchu. By the time we started, I walked faster than I had walked at any time during the trek (until we got to a steep staircase near the end, which kind of slowed me down a little). Of course, everyone else doing the Inka Trail at that time was also trying to get to the Sun Gate in time for sunrise - it was a regular traffic jam.

I finally got to the top, breathless and sweaty, just in time for the sunrise.

Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see much of anything.

After a little while, the sun started to burn off the clouds, and we could barely make out the outlines of the ruins below.

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