Sounds are muffled as I am tucked back into a crevice along the trail to the Inca bridge. A small stone wall along the trail quiets the roaring river, but can not silence the sounds of the wildlife. Everything around me is alive. The birds are playful and singing as the trees sway in the wind and the sand of the trail is sprinkled along the rocks that lie at my feet. After a morning hike at eight thousand feet in altitude, I was exhausted, but sitting here listening closely to the mountain life, I am suddenly re-energized. The most noticeable sounds are the boots of the hikers as they make their way through Machu Picchu. There are about four or five groups that pass by me. They do not speak, but share a friendly smile: the universal hello.
As the second group of travelers pass by, I hear the heaviness of their breath. They are tired, but still smiling. The other groups that pass are just the same as the previous. Why are all these people straining themselves to make this journey to Machu Picchu? Their smiles answer me immediately. This place, the mountain and it’s scenery brings joy to many people including myself. I notice my own heart rate slowly decreasing as I rest upon the cool rock hiding in the shade. I too pushed myself physically just to see these ruins and the environment that surrounds them. The location of Machu Picchu is half of the awe. I could have stood on the edge of that trail staring out at the mountains all day. The sun warms your body and the breeze keeps you refreshed. I could not be more content.