1,000 Foot Steps Away

  

I was running. Running from nothing, yet running from everything. I walked myself down the abandoned train tracks behind the parking lot of Adelphi Commons, the sorority dorms on ASU campus. Eventually I began running. Then I began twirling. I was twirling and spinning, and twirling and spinning until I made myself sick.

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Suddenly I found myself on the ground, laying on the railroad tracks. My brain and stomach, feeling completely turned upside down. I looked around, and realized I had fallen out of Tempe, and into a place I could never forget.

I stood up and took my first step on the track to “Aguas Calientes,” my resting point for the night. I didn’t want to go forward, but I didn’t want to go back on to the bus that had gotten me thus far.

I shuttered as I remembered the way we flew up and down the windy cliff-side dirt roads at 80 miles per hour. Getting a flat tire, and having to stop was the best thing that could have happened to me at that time, but it didn’t real help.

I still ended up with my head outside of the window, getting rid of last night’s liquor. The driver handed me to tissue, but didn’t even bother to slow down. I was almost annoyed, until I looked up at a waterfall, and recognized that this may be the coolest thing I have ever done in all my life.

I looked up, completely nauseated yet completely entranced by the waterfall and the lush mountains. We swung from hill to hill, and as we did the views got better and better. However, growing up in New York City, definitely could not prepare for the adventure the awaited me.

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No car goes to and from Aguas Calientes, which is the closest city to my destination. Going by foot was the only option, so I followed the railroad tracks for three hours. I raced the darkness and attempted to break my falls with only my backpack and two companions by my side.

I got to Aguas Calientes only to find out that I would have to walk an hour back in the direction I had already came in the morning. Afterwards I would continue to climb for another three hours.

My tired legs refused the trek. I listened to the two protesting parties, and paid for the bus. I still ponder to this day how there were buses in a city you can only get to by rail or foot. My imagination ran wild with possibilities.

I rarely get up before the sun is up, but I had very few options on this day. Something more was calling me. I waited in the cool air to board. My heart beat fast as I took my first steps on the bus. I fought sleep and gazed in bewilderment at the foliage that the glass separated me from.

Finally I broke free. I let the sunlight hit me, as I took deep inhales of fresh air. I took one more breath, and let the history and stories from a time before fill me. I wasn’t only just in Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was in me.

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Find more pictures from my amazing adventure in the slideshow below.

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