We had a tough night sleep as the wedding party was rocking next door until about 3 am. Ah well....can't feel badly about people being happy, I suppose. We got up at around 6:30, had breakfast, and waited to meet our guide for the next few days..."Willow." He showed up at about 7:10 and was all business, we got our things together (we actually had to leave four bags at the hotel...we were only allowed to take our day packs and one small Amazonas Explorer duffle bag to Machu Picchu) and then headed to the train station, which was only a few blocks down the hill.
The train to Km 104 took about an hour and a half. All of a sudden, the train stopped and Willow said it was time to get off...we grabbed our things and got off the train in the middle of no where...we were the only people to get off here and there was no station of any kind.
We headed off after lunch and soon came to a "hiker's lodge" that services Inca Trail hikers. It's right a the bottom of the infamous 3,000 step descent from a pass high about Winya Wayna. It didn't look like much compared to the AMC huts we're used to, so we just stopped to pee and then moved on. This section of the trail was much flatter and in the trees, so the kids felt a lot better about it and moved much more quickly.
After about an hour and a half, we arrived at a spot from where Willow told us it was all uphill for twenty minute to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu (Inti Punku). We quickly moved throughout the "oh my god" section (hand over hand stair climbing) and before we knew it, were at Ina Punta (Alex timed us in 7 minutes and 30 seconds!).