Catt-Trax 2 - Cusco en January 7, 2007 – Machu Picchu to Cusco – The Case of the Disappearing Camera <p style="text-align: center"><strong><img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="Machu Picchu at Dawn" title="Machu Picchu at Dawn" width="500" height="336" /><br />Machu Picchu at Dawn</strong></p><p>I was up at 5am to see if I could get up to Machu Picchu to watch the sun rise… but alas, when I stepped outside and looked up at the peaks above Aguas Calientes the clouds were thick and it was raining heavily. Weather changes though so I decided to make my way up to the site in hopes that the skies would clear. </p><p>The fog was thick when I got to the first viewpoint but it was warm and I was comfortable. It is not often you can relax and spend time taking in such a special place so I decided to plop myself down and just take it all in for awhile.</p><div style="padding: 3px; float: left; text-align: center"><img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" width="211" height="158" /><br /><span style="width: 198px" class="caption"><strong>Thick Morning Fog</strong></span></div><p>It was a quiet, calming experience … at least for an hour or so… until the groups of trekkers from the Inca Trail started to arrive. Because of the huge demand to hike the trail, and the damage and overcrowding that was occurring, independent trekking was banned in 2001 and in 2002 new rules were put in place to regulate trail use. </p><p>Rules include:<br />- trail hikers must trek with a registered guide<br />- group size is limited to 16, with one guide per 10 hikers<br />- and no more than 500 hikers are permitted to start the trek each day</p><div style="padding: 3px; float: left; text-align: center"><img class="image img_assist_custom" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="Hikers on the Inca Trail Arriving at Machu Picchu" title="Hikers on the Inca Trail Arriving at Machu Picchu" width="214" height="172" /><br /><span style="width: 198px" class="caption"><strong>Hikers on the Inca Trail Arriving at Machu Picchu</strong></span> </div><p>It takes 4 days to do the Inca Trail so there are at any one time (in the height of the busy season from May to August) as many as 2000 hikers doing the trek. Other popular hiking and trekking areas have had to put visitor management strategies in place. In British Columbia for example, if you want to hike the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island, spots are limited so you must pay a fee and book a spot far in advance. The Bowron Lake chain (a very popular canoeing circuit in BC) in Bowron Lake Provincial Park is another example where high demand has necessitated a visitor management strategy.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>At Machu Picchu though it certainly makes sense. Not only is it the highest profile archaeological site in South America, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which means it has international significance. If you want to learn more about World Heritage Sites you can check out the UNESCO website at: <a href=""></a></p><p>Here are a few questions for BCIT FWR students to ponder:<br />1. What does UNESCO stand for?<br />2. How many World Heritage Sites does Canada have?<br />3. Do we have a World Heritage Site in British Columbia? If so, what are they (or what is it)?</p><p>You can find the answers at the above website, or you can click on a page on the Parks Canada website which also has the information:<br /><a href=""></a> </p><p>The fog eventually lifted and I was treated once again to sunshine and great views of the site. I decided to climb to the top of the peak in behind Machu Picchu, called Huayna Picchu. It is steep… and on a hot day can take a lot out of you… but the view from the top is certainly worth the effort!</p><p>I was planning on putting a short video clip here… so keep your eyes on this spot. I am still learning the editing process, so it may take me a bit of time.</p><p><strong>Train Back to Cusco</strong></p><p>I made it down to Aguas Calientes in time to board my train to Cusco. Peru is an amazing country with diverse landscapes and wildlife, outstanding archaeological sites, and very friendly people but one of the things that the guidebooks tell you is that some partsof Peru are not always safe and to be careful with your property at all times. Lima in particular is famous for robbery and tourists of course are a prime target. Friends back home reminded me to keep my belongings hidden as best as possible but when you have an armful of camera gear it can be tough. I keep a number of key items in my LowePro padded hip pack and I also have an old ratty day pack that I put my camera stuff in when I am traveling in an area that may not be 100% safe. </p><p>The views from the train on the way back were as fabulous as those heading towards Machu Picchu. This time though I was going all the way back to Cusco. The train arrived in the outskirts of the city after dark which meant that we could get a wonderful panoramic view of the city at night. In fact due to the steep topography the train has to zigzag its way down into the city train station. This meant that we had the great view of the city for close to half an hour as the train moved slowly downward back and forth, back an forth. I was tempted to try to take a photo of the city with the churches all lit up by floodlights, but the train was moving, the light was way too low, and there was a train window to deal with (you can occasionally get some very nice photos shooting directly through glass… but in this case it would not have worked). So… I decided to just take in the sights and store them in my memory banks rather than on film (or a digital sensor in this case). But… a young traveler decided to offer to take a picture for his female travel companion and as the train zigzagged its way past a perfect view location he slid open the small window above the main window and stuck his friend’s camera outside to avoid the reflection of the glass. And then it happened. In a split second, a body leapt up from beside the tracks and grabbed the camera from his hand. A camera that was not even his! </p><p>The thieves must wait outside in the dark, poised and ready for that one opportunity. From outside the train they can see the passengers inside (as the train car is lit up with lights) but the passengers cannot see much of anything outside… just black, other than the lights that light up the city. I have no idea how often this camera-stealing system works… but in this case it did… and a $500 camera was gone in a flash. One of the train staff did say that it has happened a few times before. Lesson for the day? Keep your camera inside a moving train! <br /></p> Cusco Equipment Machu Picchu Peru Peru Train Wed, 17 Jan 2007 11:54:57 -0800 Danny Catt 268 at The City of Cusco, Peru <img src="" alt="The City of Cusco, Peru" title="The City of Cusco, Peru" width="800" height="537" class="image preview" /> city Cusco Peru Mon, 08 Jan 2007 21:41:32 -0800 Danny Catt 205 at