I REACHED THE SUN GATE at the end of a grueling four-day hike through high altitudes and vertical climbs and took my first look at Machu Picchu. As the stone walls pierced the early morning fog, and the entire Inca city unfolded before me, the tiredness melted away.
When I reached that peak on an early morning in January, I joined my hiking group in a series of hugs, high fives, and ear-splitting grins, but then pulled away for a moment of silent reflection. It had not been an easy journey, and there was a definite moment when I’d considered turning back. I’m not an athletic person by anyone’s standards, but I felt that I should still be allowed to experience the Inca Trail.
While being the hardest, most physically challenging thing I have ever completed, the Inca Trail is a very realistic goal, even for inexperienced hikers.