Boots, Birds, and Binocs... Peru 2011
Reaction to Machu Picchu:
Machu Picchu was incredible!  Everyone I talked to before I left for Peru wanted to know if we were going to Machu Picchu and they were all jealous I was going to knock it off my bucket list.  However, Machu Picchu just blew my expectations away.
It was amazing to see such stunning and elaborate ruins against the background of the Andes.  I have hiked trails that have ended at scenic overlooks or historic landmarks, but I cannot remember another place that combined them both.  Every turn we made in the park was truly breath taking.  Even though I know the Incas constructed the terraced landscape, something about the ruins seems superhuman.  
The hike up to Waynapicchu was also unforgettable.  I always enjoy a challenging hike especially when it has an incredible view.  The hike was very steep and to about 9000 ft.  The tallest mountain in North Carolina is less than 7000 ft tall.  Watching local men who work in the park jog a sick man down the mountain , was shocking and a reality check.  Its amazing that the human body can adapt to an environment that way.  I wonder if people are born with the ability to live in high altitudes or if that develops over time.
-Audrey Hite