Sunrise at Machu Picchu

They say there are very few days when it's clear enough in the Peruvian Andes to see the morning sun cast its first rays onto the magnificent Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. Well, this was one of those days. I'm convinced it was a reward from the mountain spirits (the "apus") for having completed a six-day, 42-mile trek through the Andes and then awakened in time to be at the site before 6 a.m. It was the perfect finish to a  fascinating experience. As UNESCO said in declaring this 15th-century marvel (believed to have been an emperor's estate) a World Heritage Site in 1983, Machu Picchu is nothing less than "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization." It's impossible to overstate the impact of coming to this wondrous place.