Backpacking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru with my Dad and Brothers

A woman in the marketplace in Cusco, Peru

When you shoot weddings nearly every weekend from April through the end of December you learn to take advantage of those rare weekends off. This past Thanksgiving weekend was my first wedding free weekend since August so my brothers and I took our dad on a 10 day trip to Peru to backpack the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It Was Epic!

Coca Tea was served to us the moment we checked in and then by our porters throughout our trip to help ease the effects of the altitude.
The City of Cusco is a Spanish city built on top of an Incan city. Sometimes its easy to see that Incan ruins serve as a foundation for a newer building and sometimes the buildings seem to share walls from the different eras.

Since I’m behind the camera most of the time you are seeing my brothers, Will and Glennon and my Dad, Bill Andrews. I’m so proud of my Dad for making such a tough trek at the age of 65. Dad is a retired history professor who stays busy writing political and travel columns for the Daily Herald and the Nashville Tennesseean. I will surely be on a walker by the time I’m his age considering how much my feet hurt after shooting weddings but he really hung in there. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise considering the fact that he plays 3 sets of tennis every day.

There were ruins everywhere and these at Saqsaywaman (which we called sexy woman) were astonishing. I’ve been to see Stonehenge and I have to say that I was much more amazed by this site and the way these gigantic boulders were moved up mountains and placed so close together that you can’t even slide a blade between them.

This is where the backpacking portion of our trip began. It was a 46k or 28m hike and though it was sometimes described as rolling, it felt like we were always gong straight up or straight down. I couldn’t believe how many ruins we came across on our trek.

The porters on our trip were amazing. Its embarrassing how much they helped us out. In addition to our extremely knowledgable guide Tomas, we were provided with 2 chefs, and 6 porters who carried everything from tents to food to tables and silverware and they were always friendly and our lunches and dinners were always ready for us by the time we got to our stopping points. These guys were carrying twice as much as us and getting there twice as fast. Most tourists who hike the Camino Inca complete the trek in 4 or 5 days but they occasionally hold races and one year a porter completed the entire trek in 4 hours. This is unbelievable to me considering the amount of vertical on this trail and the lack of oxygen at this altitude.

And there it is. One of the best views on the planet! We were worried for a bit but eventually the clouds cleared and we rushed down to explore Machu Picchu.

It looks like Jesus is saying “No guinee pig for me. Thank you.”

Now that I’ve run with the bulls in Spain and visited Machu Picchu, I’m going to have to seriously start re-thinking my bucket-list since these were the two at the top of my list. I’m thinking photo safari in Africa!

Travel Photography | Editorial Photography | Travel Documentary

Nashville Photographer in Peru |  Matt Andrews Photography




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