Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2015 (July 21, 2015)

Machu Picchu: High Altitude Encounter

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July 13, 2015
By Nancy Cabrera-Santos’69

Machu Picchu_BCMSum15.jpg

Last March, I was surprised to encounter a fellow Beloiter on a trip to Machu Picchu, Peru. Ginny Tuttrup George’83, left, and I had never met before, but we both happened to join the same Orbridge tour group. We were set to walk part of the Inca Trail at Machu Picchu and tour Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The tour started in Lima where our group assembled for an airline trip to Cusco. Situated in the Peruvian Andes, Cusco reached its historical peak under the ninth Inca ruler, Pachacuti (1438-71). A World Heritage Center, Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Arriving by “Vistadome” train, we encountered a breathtaking sight—a royal Inca city, high in the Andes, covered by a mystical cloud cover. While half of the group remained touring the Temples of the Sun, Condor, and royal residences, others—including Ginny—trekked a part of the famous Inca trail—in the rain! Despite a recent landslide, the climbers accomplished their mission and were rewarded with an unbelievable view of Machu Picchu. At the end of the tour, our group was treated to a real shaman ceremony, complete with offerings to the gods of the mountain.

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