We’ll begin the third hiking day of undertaking the ascent to the archaeological site of Runkurakay, the stretch starts with a lying path that soon starts to become a steep stone staircase that rises sinuously into the “Abra Runkurakay” in the short break half rise, we’ll turn our eyes to see the checkpoint of Paqaymayu that highlights areas where high camp and clear waters coming down from the snowy Soqtacochayoc. The path of ascent has an original stone path dating back to Inca times and it is incredible that despite of the passage of centuries of pressure by visitors and inclement weather this pre-Hispanic construction remains under the same conditions. After climbing all the way, we’ll reach the archaeological site of Runkurakay located in the middle of a mountain with a semicircular shape formed by two enclosures that complement and a central space similarly windows of medium size, a religious enclosure whose windows are oriented to Warmiwañuska to the mountain and the semicircular shape, considered to be devoted to the Killa breast.
Continuing the climb, we’ll reach a small “Lagunilla” which is a few meters from the pit, a source where deers, foxes and other animals from the area are drinking water, the breathtaking scenery that surrounds it generate spectacular images that embellish further context, the climb will end in the Abra Runkurakay where we’ll find rest points since after overcoming a steep slope which is appropriate for good rest. After enjoying the landscape, we’ll start the descent to Sayaqmarka by the same paved road that passed the Incas in this pilgrimage to Machu Picchu purification. The road has emotional moments, like when a small tunnel carved into a huge rock that sawed the path traced it through. Along the way, it is common to see large spaces that work as lookouts, in this case the viewpoint allows us to appreciate the way down and another small “Lagunilla” of dark waters while the distance and the archaeological site of Sayaqmarka can be seen where the traveller will find a grandstand that is almost vertical position with approximately 97 stone steps; surprising perfection of this construction by the size of the lithic and its adaptation to the topography of the area. In Sayaqmarka, visitors might see water sources of domestic ceremonial enclosures for housing, narrow streets bordered by sturdy stone walls remaining intact over times, covering double fronted accesses and a sacred Huaca which recognizes the carved profile a human figure with outstretched arms on a black background. Like all archaeological monuments that are located along the Inca Trail, Andean religious rituals were also intended
The stone buildings of the Inca trail and the road itself trigger a series of questions about its construction. How long did take the Incas to build all this monumental complex? Which tools did they use? How many people did work on this wonderful work? How did they feed themselves? Where did they sleep? Which method of work did they use? Which rituals and ceremony did they perform? Why so many holy sites? So deep was their faith in their deities to justify such colossal works? The questions are endless to try to understand the extraordinary human effort made by the Incas to build this road network through the intricate geography of the Peruvian Andes.
We’ll continue in the way towards the control point to “Chaquicocha” and just undertake the march, we’ll visualize the archaeological site of Conchamarca located at the bottom of Sayaqmarka on the banks of a stream coming down from the heights which comprises 3 campuses located above a platform with five platforms and intended for religious activities in pre-Hispanic times, the path down is made by wooden bridges crossing the abundant streams. The landscape is changing gradually as we’ll meet the lush vegetation of the gorges in the journey to reach Chaquicocha campsite where we’ll have some rest and the lunch. Resuming the journey, our steps will lead us to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarka that is far behind the hills with a dense blanket of fog, the Inca trail in this section is impressive as the ancient Inca engineers adequate the stroke to the existing geography and we’ll cross this stretch where there is a curve built on a rocky outcrop that could not prevent the genius of the builders, advancing amid ravines and curves which got a formidable passage as a tunnel dug in the bedrock both the roof and the stones with floor and despite the indoor humidity it still remains in use. Some meters below five sources of floodwaters carved in stone conducting the vital liquid from one to another source sequentially flowing all year consists of five circular towers in ascending connected by cobbled climb that fits in all constructions which are appreciated by religious use and residence of Andean priests.
Immediately, we’ll get back to the Inca trail and the road does not stop surprising since in some sections amazing works like this sequence of 35 steps carved in live rock followed by exquisite cobblestones that characterizes the entire roadway. The walk will also lead us to a smaller tunnel than previous ones, but the same admirable bill surprises visitors, some meters down a templete on the way to appreciate the distance in the bottom of the archaeological site of Inti leg one systems platforms for agricultural use, the exquisiteness of the validity of the Inca engineering allowed these terraces to be adapted to the morphology of the terrain work perfectly with its waterways for more than 500 years ago; continuing the descent down the paved road to get to Wiñaywayna a ceremonial assembly having terraces on the top and bottom constructions Inca ceremonial enclosures divided into two parts. Surrounded by a wall of seven large windows arranged symmetrically with Inca expression of duality.
Here there is a camping area with toilets for public use where we’ll have dinner and spend the night.