Well, it's been more than a month since we traversed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I'm still reeling from the experience. I also finally had a chance to pick up "Turn Right At Machu Picchu" by Mark Adams. I had to specially request it from our library network. The one thing I can say is that, I wished I had read it before the trip. There's so much insight in there that you cannot find in any of the guidebooks or blog posts about Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham or the Inca Trail.
Here's why you should read it before you start your trip adventure.
7 Reasons to read "Turn Right at Machu Picchu"
It provides a very comprehensive history on the "discovery" of Machu Picchu. Hiram Bingham is credited with finding it, but there are actually many other adventurers, explorers and Peruvians who saw the great ruins. The significance and fame was just not put in the spotlight until Bingham found it.
Hiram Bingham is a very interesting historical figure. I, honestly, didn't know much about him. An educator turned archaeologist turned explorer. From his family history to his circle of friends and acquaintances, I think he was destined for fame one way or another.
You'll appreciate the nuisances of the Trail a little better. While the experience will be different to each person, it's good to have a bit of a heads up on what to expect on the trail ie. bathrooms, altitude, etc.
There's a lot of terms to familiarize yourself with. From the names of the mountains, rivers, gods, to their meanings, the Inca Trail is full of history. The names as you see them on signs or in maps can be confusing as they are either mentioned in the old Incan language, Quechua, or in Spanish or a combination of the two.
It's fairly recent and provides insight into the ongoing battle of who continues to take care of Machu Picchu and have its history live on. Yale University holds most of the artifacts founds around the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
The book is written in a way that weaves historical facts into the author's own journey following how the Inca kings fled from Cusco when to Spanish conquistadors arrived to Hiram Bingham's footsteps. This is the same trail you will be embarking on.
It prepares you for the mystery of Machu Picchu. Until this day, there is no clear reason why a city such as this exists. The main explanation is that it was a summer house of the main Incan king, but when you see the carefully designed architecture, you'll wonder what power it really holds.