Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

I loathe adventure stories where the author inserts himself as a character. Adams is particularly bad at this, the whinging out of shape hiker on the Incan trail, but he’s oh so clever. He meets the ex-president of Peru and his wife at a Barnes & Noble cafe (RIP), who insists he take a muffin for the road. Really, Mark? Leave these awful details out, my friend, focus on the good bits that don’t involve you.
The premise is that adventure travel editor Adams will get to go on an excursion of his own, mimicking the “discoverer” Bingham’s route via a month-ish long hike through the Andes, guided by a fearless Aussie and a team of muleteers and cook.
What I learned:
* Machu Picchu and sister sites line up along a solstice-friendly plan thousands of miles apart.
* The “discoverer” Bingham tells a dining audience at the NatGeo society “Buried in the jungle, we found a city called Machu Picchu. That is an awful name, but it is well worth remembering.”
* Bingham was the role model for Indiana Jones (Yale professor, the celestial connection of light flooding in at the perfect moment to illuminate something)
* People are entirely too hurried when they visit the site, even those trekking for days to get there.
* Pizarro was probably the first looter of the site, requiring massive amounts of gold as ransom for Incan emperor Atahualpa in 1532, mobilizing the entire Inca kingdom to collect precious metals (Atahualpa was still killed).
* Tupac Amaru was the last Inca emperor, our contemporary rapper Tupac was named after him.