(Originally posted 26 July)
I have added more definition to the distant peaks, though they seem too dark at the moment. I have also started working on Huayna Picchu, the big peak that dominates the view, working top down.
The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is 2,693 metres (8,835 ft) above sea level, or about 260 metres (850 ft) higher than Machu Picchu. According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day.
The word “Picchu” is a hispanicization of the Quechua (ancient language of the Andes peoples) meaning pyramid.
The river Urubamba almost completely surrounds Huayna Picchu apart from a narrow ridge leading from Machu Picchu mountain; the Inca ruins sit between the two peaks with extremely steep slopes on both sides down to the river.