Sure, I had studied the Incas in school. I knew about Machu Picchu or I thought that I did. “You cannot judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes” from To Kill a Mocking Bird describes my moment.

The trail went through the Andes, we were able to interact with local villagers. We were able to see how they lived, in the altitude where food was scare. It was eye opening. We camped along the trail, seeing more stars than I could have imagined. I was able to the see the Southern Cross in the sky, bringing up images of people using the stars as navigation points. The engineering of the trail and Machu Picchu spoke to the Incas’ advanced society. That being said, the trail was tougher than anticipated. But worth the trip due to your view of Machu Picchu as you come up to it. It is a spiritual place and when I first saw it I could not move, I just stared at it.

Walking throughout the area brought to life for me all that I had studied. We were able to see the terrace farming concept, the temples, all at this altitude, making me wonder about how this was accomplished. The manpower needed. . . This has impacted how I teach the Incas to students. It enables me to tell stories that they might not be able to read about in the class, showing pictures from Machu Picchu. For me when I teach this to students it brings back the memories.

– Wendell Johnson (Social Studies Teacher)