The Incan Empire once stretched through modern day Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. The landscape spanned from ocean to desert, the peaks of the Andes to freshwater lakes and fertile valleys. All were linked by an estimated 24,000 miles of trail – Inca Trails.
This vast network of trade could supposedly bring seafood from the coast to the emperor in Cusco – still fresh enough to eat. And a telegram system, set up like a long distance baton-passing relay race, ferried messages almost as fast as the pony express. Pre-Colombian america had no ponies that required flat and wide terrain – instead most roads contained lots of steep and narrow staircases which llamas (and humans) could handily traverse.
Our 26 mile journey from outside Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, along a road more religious than economical, is just one little Inca Trail artery. To us, however, completing four straight days of walking up and down stairs will feel much more… monumental