The Selfie-Stick Wars

By Lucy Benson and Elizabeth Mann

CAUTION! The following post contains photographic information that could be frightening, disturbing, or even applicable to viewers like you. Thank you!

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Since its declaration as a new UNESCO Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu has seen a sharp increase of visitors as well as price. This increase in price is preventing most Peruvians from attending their own national park. This raises concern because these parks depend on the support of both westerners and Peruvian natives. If Peruvians do not feel that they have a relationship with national parks such as Machu Picchu or other environmental protection agencies, including portions of the rainforest, it would hardly be surprising if they allowed miners to demolish their lands.

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Due to the trampling feet of thousands of tourists each day, officials at Machu Picchu are debating whether or not to close a substantial portion of the site. This would no longer allow guests to have an interactive experience with the ruins; instead the tourists would only be permitted to view Machu Picchu from hundreds of feet away. In our opinion, this would subtract from the magic and emotion that Machu Picchu can provide, but it would be beneficial as it would save this historical site from damage. What is your opinion of the closure, and the massive crowds which can be seen at most historical sites? Please write in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.

Here is our experience:

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More from Machu Picchu

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photo by Sami

JASON:

Coming from a family of outdoors enthusiasts who love to hike, I have gotten to see many amazing sights in nature growing up.  However, the hike up the Intipunku, or Puerta del Sol, trail at Machu Picchu was absolutely the most breathtaking hike I have ever gone on.  The weather changed quickly as we rose to the top, with clouds rushing up out of the valley.  When the view was clear, we could slowly see Machu Picchu getting farther and farther away from us as the air became more refreshing.

Though the hike was a little tiring because of the high altitude, the view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding valley from the top were unbeatable.  We were able to take some time for personal reflection among the clouds, lush vegetation, and ancient ruins – and we could not be more thankful for that.

IAN: 

Getting up at 4:30 is never easy, yet knowing the good to that is to come is enough to pull you straight up to your feet. The plan is to ride a bus to the mountains of Machu Picchu, and that is exactly what we did.

Our first stop was to a town called “Ojanta y Tambo” which translates to “a town to relax and enjoy”. We walked around for a short while to study the architecture, and learned that the town was built for the Incas to have a place to relax amidst their advents.

Shortly after we boarded a train that would streamline us to our final destination. During the ride, it was brought to our attention by Dr. Scullion to notice the ascending of trees up the side of mountains. We learned that the trees were migrating up the side as a result of climate change. Who would have thought trees to be so intelligent?

When we arrived to Machu Picchu, we didn’t hesitate to begin the ascent to the top where we could see the “Sun Gate”. We were all reminded of the challenges of hiking in the altitude. Once we got to the top though, it was all worth it. There might be some merit to the saying that the best view is from the top.

Upon descending there were still a few landmarks that could be seen.

We were guided through the maze of many of of the ruins in the mountains. Amidst the ruins was a temple called “The Temple of Condor,” Giovanna explained that the Condor, or vulture is representative of raising the soul and spirit to the celestial realm. There was once a time when the condors flew freely in the mountains. And now, they have been hunted for the value of their feathers which are thought to have powerful energetic properties.

Peru In Panorama: Cusco to Machu Picchu

Lacking the expertise of the many photographers in the forest online, I’ve armed myself with only an iPhone to record my trip. To my surprise, I’ve captured many more scenes in more detail than I had initially anticipated. One of my favorite tools has been the panoramic feature, allowing me to immerse the viewer slighltly more to these incredible scenes which all forms of media hopelessly fail to represent.

Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Chinchero, Moray, and Machu Picchu in panoramic:

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