Playing Wordle the Hard Way

The hard way to cheat in Wordle is to write code! (The easy way are anonymous browser windows). After many hours, and many nights of computing, it turns out that Wolver, the Wordle Solver,  is rarely better than teenage girls. Still, it was a lot of fun. Part of the fun was learning a lot of new words.

Let’s look at the word POINT.


Solve POINT in hard mode

Wolver does two things: First, it creates a list of guesses rated by how many words they rule out. The top guess on that will be used as a first guess. Second, Wolver looks at the Wordle results for that guess, drops all solutions that are no longer possible, and again creates a list of rated guesses. The output then looks like


Processing ARTEL and Wordle results (Word of the day was POINT)

Wolver looks at ARTEL. The black square stands for yellow. Wordle told us there is a a letter T in the solution. Wolver knows about 107 words that have a T, starting with STINK. 44 seconds later, Wolver suggests to use TONIC to narrow the group down to 2 possible solutions. Let’s do that, and we get


Processing ARTEL TONIC and Wordle results (Word of the day was POINT)

After the Wordle hints for ARTEL and TONIC Wolver only knows about 2 words that fit, POINT and JOINT. At this point Wolver just picks one, and was lucky. For comparison, the two test teenagers both solved today’s problem in 3.

For POINT, anything below 3 is pure luck of the guess. There are many ways get to only POINT/JOINT left after 2 guesses, and then it’s a 50% chance. 3 and 4 are both equally good. 5 tries would be wasteful.

Wolver can go deeper if needed, e.g. if after two words there are still 12 or more solutions left. ALOES will get it down to 12 or less for sure, but it’s the only word that can do that. If you happen to start with JEEZE, you may end up with 94 solutions even if you make the best possible choice in the second guess.

First Let’s Look at Words

There are at many thousand 5-letter words in the English language, including SOARE, ORIEL, EPHAS and SAIRS. But most people would never think of them as solutions. I am not even sure what SAIRS means, and Google couldn’t help. Any of those four are valid guesses in Wordle, but luckily, none of them will be chosen as answers – Wordle would just be too hard if the solution could be TYNED. The words of the day are limited to more common words like PROXY, DILLY, and POINT.

The only way to be sure about what is a valid guess and what is a valid answer is to look at the Wordle code. As of the start of this coding project, there were 12,972 words allowed as guess, and 2315 possible answers.

In comparison, the game Mastermind has only six colors, but any combination is allowed. There are 15,625 combinations of six colors. Mastermind allows all combinations as guesses and as solutions. Wordle allows 26 letters, but limits the guesses to ~13,000, and solutions to ~2300. So in some ways, it’s easier.

So we have two lists, the allowed guesses and the potential solutions.

Ranking Guesses 1 – Quick and Dirty

First we rank the guesses. Each guess rules out a certain number of words. How many depends on the word of the day.

So for each combination of guess and solution, we compute the result (green, yellow, gray) that Wordle would give us. Then we check each solution against that result, and count how many are left. The fewer the better. The combinations with a word against itself only have one left. It’s the lucky case. What we care about is how many do we get in the worst case, or on average.

For example, for ARISE and the Wordle result of all grays, we get 168 solutions left. If we average all the possible answers from all gray to all green, we get an average of 67 words left (we use a weighted average here).  That is pretty good. ROATE’s worst case is 195 solutions left, but the average is 63. So ROATE is a good first guess.

The top 10 guesses with this metric are


Really bad guesses are GYPPY, JUGUM, JUJUS, QAJAQ, IMMIX, with IMMIX’s average a massive 970. The worse case for IMMIX is 1429. Still, if the solution today is EMAIL, the result will be [gray, green, gray, green, gray] and EMAIL will be the only solution left. There are 9 such cases, including BUXOM, PIXIE and AXIOM. But that’s 9 out of 2315, about 0.4%. Don’t start with IMMIX!

Ranking Guesses 2 – Going Deeper

Of course we can do better than this if we throw a little bit more compute power at it. After we compute every Wordle result for every combination of guess and solution, we basically have a simplified Wordle problem, one with fewer answers. (If we play in hard mode, we can also throw out a large number of guesses at this time.) We can now just use the same code to again look at the remaining answer for each guess and then average the averages. In computer science, we call this recursion.

For example, TOILE, was ranked #38 previously. However, after two guesses, the average number of words is down to 6.09 and becoming the new #1, while ROATE is at 6.09. The difference is mostly immaterial, however, TRONE comes down from #983 to #5. It has an average of 81 after one level, but 6.10 after two.

The top 10 guesses with this metric (in easy mode) are:


If you play hard mode, they are:


Going all in

You see where it’s going. You can keep going deeper. If you go three levels down, it may look like (in hard mode)


My code has been running for a few days (on one core) and only got about 90 words in (out of 13,000), so we won’t get a final level 3 list anytime soon. REALS was #59, and only made 10th place, so it’s unlikely that I’ll find a better word later.
Still, those run times don’t bode well for a full solve. Short of spending lots of money on a Google cloud job I will never know the perfect strategy. To do full analysis at deeper than two levels I will have to start implementing more pruning strategies, to do less work overall. As an example, if I want to compute the worst case, I can process large results first, and prune small results that are already smaller than the worst case of the large one.


Foremost, teenagers are as good as Wolver most days. Sometimes they even win with luck. This elderly immigrant with English as a third language, however, is outperformed by the algorithm.

The improvements by going a level deeper are minimal, but require significant CPU. Wolver doesn’t solve, maybe I should call it Wuesser?

Hard Mode makes it easier for the algorithm. It will take more guesses on average because the best guesses may be ruled out. But on the positive side, hard rules vastly reduces the number of guesses to test in higher levels, allowing the algorithm to go deeper.

I spent enough time on this, will spend more every day as I improve here and there, and I will spend some more to clean up and update github, but this obsession has to stop now!

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Visit this Starbucks before you die!

We found the Starbucks mother lode. It’s the only Starbucks in the world that grows it’s own coffee and roasts it on site, too. Throw in killer views  (most of the time), decent food, and super fast Internet, and you won’t leave.

A Starbucks with a view – the bushes in neat rows are coffee plants.

The view isn’t too shabby for the baristas either. They can literally watch their coffee grow. Filter coffee in the foreground, and syphon coffee makers to the right.

Main seating area – the view comes and goes.

The Starbucks is in the middle of a Hacienda, and all the coffee they serve is grown and processed on site. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. Ordering coffee is not that easy, as the baristas have access to a large selection of coffee making devices, from fancy drip coffee, to french presses, to a Clover coffee machines, to batteries of syphon coffee makers and your regular espresso machine.

Coffee plants just behind the Starbucks. The barista is working the Clover machine.

The small roaster inside the Starbucks.

The sweets menu – Somewhat similar to the US.

We had this cheese plate, and the bread was the best so far in Costa Rica, USD 13.74.

They have a small lunch menu, and the weather was still not encouraging. We decided that the Starbucks was so much better than the hotel room or any other competing activies, and so we stayed for lunch

This Starbucks also has lasagna, soups, and sandwiches, enough for a decent lunch.

They grow strawberries in plenty of farms just up the hill,

While we were there the torrential rains turned a beautiful waterfall in an impressive brown mess.

When we came there were two white waterfalls, each about a quarter the size.

The strawberries are hyper local, too.

But there is a lot more to this Starbucks. It’s part of a large coffee growing Hacienda with a mission:

Diseases can be a disaster for small farmers and destroy a whole crop. Increased production costs and global warming further threaten small grower’s survival. More productive plants hopefully leads to a reduction in deforestation. Throw in increasing global coffee consumption and we must develop more productive and more resistant coffee varietals, and collect and spread best practices.

Starbucks realized this and bought this farm in 2013 from the original owner to ensure “the future of coffee”.  Hacienda Alsacia is a research and development center to develop new varietals of Arabica and improve best practices. All the research is open-source as they freely share any new varietals with any farmer who is interested. The hacienda also hosts the local education center for farmers, a free support center for all coffee growers.

The tour is different from the abundant small coffee grower tour that focus on the growing and manual processing. Hacienda Alsacia is a large, automated grower, and the tour is more interesting for engineers. You also learn about Starbucks’ commitments to global sustainable coffee growing. We were in the middle of a torrential down pour, so we spent just a few minutes between the coffee plants and most under cover, in a small processing area.

Unfortunately it wasn’t really harvest season just yet, so we didn’t send out these volunteers into the rain.

This is where they dry some coffee – clearly not today,

You’ll learn a little about Robusta (which Starbucks doesn’t use) and a lot about Arabica. You’ll learn about the processing of coffee, different quality levels, and how the process impacts the end result.

Flowering Season was over, but there was one flower left,

The tour of course covers all the make-gringos-feel-good aspects: It has houses for the seasonal work force that picks the coffee, on site day-care and schools for the kids of the migrating families, and follows all Starbucks and government requirements. It’s even audited by the same third party that audits Starbucks coffee growers.

The tour also includes the obligatory coffee tasting that made me want to buy a siphon coffee machine.

Be aware that tourist attractions in Costa Rica charge US prices for everything. Between late morning coffee with bread, cheese, cakes and croissants, lunch, and the tour this attraction may easily set you back $50/person. You can find the Starbucks 30 minutes north of Alajuela, Costa Rica. It’s a nice combination with a visit to the Poás Volcano National Park (you need to buy online tickets to the park before you drive up). It’s the only active crater you can visit in flip-flops (but we still recommend better shoes)

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LARPing on the Inca Trail

One of the board games we love to play is called Massive Darkness. It’s a fun dungeon crawler that we play on 3D terrain pieces. A game could look like below: Sibyl and friends (in brown) are hiding in the dark so the horde of dwarves heads the other way.

Massive Darkness

Playing Massive Darkness on Dwarven Forge Dungeon Terrain.

In terms of setup, this is pretty basic. For one, it’s not painted. And it’s just dungeons. Similar terrain is available for caverns, castles, and whole medieval cities. What’s important is that the dungeons don’t have roofs, because you need to move the miniatures. All you need are stone walls, fountains, steps, …

Can you guess what went through my mind when I saw Llactapata?


Llactapata, Peru

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to descent into Llactapata, but found plenty more cities over the next few days. Here are some of my favorite shots.

Inca Cities are Awesome Inca Cities are Awesome Inca Cities are Awesome Inca Cities are Awesome Inca Cities are Awesome Inca Cities are Awesome  Inca Cities are Awesome Inca Cities are Awesome

Of course, you need brave warriors to populate these areas. The paint scheme of our miniatures is optimized for new players, with bright colors so players can keep their minis apart. Below you can see Elias preparing the Lightbringers for the descent into the City of Eternal Live (not making that up – Wiñawayna means forever young in Quechua).

The Fellowship of the Trail preparing to enter the City of Eternal Life

The Lightbringers under the leadership of Elias prepare to descent into Wiñawayna,  City of Eternal Life

Without further ado, Sibil, a nightshade ranger (blue), Whisper, a bloodmoon nightrunner (yellow), Bjorn, a shadow barbarian (orange), Moira, a sorceress (purple), and Sigfried, a pit fighter beserker (red) headed into the maze. Elias, our Battle Wizard led from behind.

Inca Cities are Awesome

Descent into Wiñawayna down the fountain stairs. Sibyl is far ahead. Far in the back, we’ll see a minor roaming monster.

The Fellowship of the Trail

Sibyl and Whisper carry the (white) Lifebringer through Wiñawayna

Bjorn went to slay the minor roaming monster on his own.

Unfortuntately, Bjorn’s exploration spawned an Overseer who activated Siegfried. Siegfried wasted no time taking out Sibyl and Whisper in a glorious battle.

Important: Before you call your travel agent: LARPing on the Inca Trail is not that much fun. You’ll play  “Return to the Shire” and walk for days on end through amazing landscape. The trail and the ruins are awesome impressive temples, cities, and artifacts of an ancient civilization and not playgrounds. Do not shoot fireballs, shout, run, or climb any of the walls. Because Machu Picchu is sinking and archaeologists worry about the impact of thousands of tourists you are not even allowed to jump. We didn’t do any of these forbidden things, well, except for the jumping, but that was way before we reached Machu Picchu – and why we learned about the rules.

IRL Links (you see what I am doing)

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Trip Report: Be our Guest on the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail offers some of the best gourmet dining in Peru. All the cooking happens in pots on a gas flame in half of the mess tent which doubles as porter’s tent for the night. It’s also the only shelter when it rains, which is why the porters crowd in. The tent is red, like everything Llama Path, which explains the funky light on some of the pictures.The kitchen team in action

The chefs often start as porters, then assistant chef, then they go to chef training. We trekked with Llama Path, and our chef Dennis was nothing short of amazing. These chefs compete annually in designing new dishes, and the winning dishes get then rolled out for all tours. But now let’s look at some of what Dennis, our chef served us. We’ll start with the easy dishes on the first day.

Inca Trail Food

Inca Trail Food on day 1.

Food safety is on top of everyone’s mind: no tour operator wants their clients to get sick. In our group nobody got sick – and we ate pretty much everything, including fruit, salads, Guacamole, and fish and meat. The support team also prepares water to wash hands and face three times a day. The water comes when you wake up, or when you arrive at camp. I’d rather have it right before a meal, though. I noticed (but didn’t share while on the trek) that no porter washed hands after using the bathroom – not our’s and not any of the other tour groups….Maybe they wash before they start handling food?

Inca Trail Food

Inca Trail Food. Dinners are typically more fancy than lunch, and the amount of  fruit and green leaves is slowly reducing over the days – but never totally goes away.

As you can see, food is plenty. Our guide said that some groups eat it all, but we rarely eat more than half. Maybe it’s because we were a small (private) group and we got the same number of dishes that large groups (up to 18 tourists) get. Out guide did mention llama path had the best food, and he had been gaining weight. Anything we didn’t eat went to the support team to finish. We did finish most of the deserts, and sweet breakfast items. Pancakes with chocolate sauce, fruit salad, panetone.

Inca Trail Food: Deserts

Deserts and Breakfast.

This is the Inca Trail, with world class chefs, they get more elaborate every day. The chefs are actually being poached by Peruvian restaurants from across the world. We were told that some clients actually marry the chefs and open a Peruvian restaurant back home. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes! Or check out the last day’s food…

Inca Trail Food

On the last day, Denis and team went all out. Remember, we have been on the trail for three days…

And then, there is the chocolate cake. When I am “cooking” while backpacking, it’s mostly freeze dried food. Maybe it’s time to up the ante?

Inca Trail Food: Denis and the Chocolate Cake

Our amazing chef Denis with the most delicious chocolate cake.

Early one morning, when I got up in the dark, I saw them cooking outside the mess tent (some porters were still in there). Quinoa soup is the breakfast for porters, and according to the guide, they prefer this over the tourist food.

Breakfast for porters

Quinoa Soup in the making.

If the above is not enough, there are chicherias and restaurants along the Inca Trail, if only during the first day. They even serve cui, and keep them right in the kitchen. You can probably pet your lunch :-).

Inca Trail Restaurants

On the first day, there are a few restaurants. They even have cui, right there in the kitchen.


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Trip Report: Inca Trail

Rainy Season? Oops! We were extremely lucky with the weather – it rained only 2 days. Our Inca Trail was a magical experience of cities in the clouds, fog filled abysses, and rain forests. And the sun did come out as we arrived at the Sun Gate.

Fog Filled Abysses

Fog Filled Abysses.

Day 1:

After a 3:45am wake-up call, we are picked up at 4:30am at the hotel in Cusco. The night was especially short because 8h before we were at the clinic with two of the three kids and came back with cipro for the stomach, and amoxicillin for the ears. But at 4am everyone feels good enough go for it! We board the bus and after a quick stop at the Llama Path porter house and a longer stop for breakfast (i.e. no sleep on the bus…) we arrive at the trail head – km 82 of the railroad. As a private group of only 5 clients we organize and repack quickly. We cross the bridge minutes before 9am.

km 82 bridge

The bridge at km 82, the beginning of the Inca Trail.

And we are on our way. The trail starts with Peru flat for about two hours, then it climbs for real. After the first steep climb we find our first Inca city – Llactapata. We can only see it across a small valley, but it’s still pretty impressive. It also reminds me of some games we play, but that is another story.


Llactapata (sometimes referred to as Patallacta, e.g. on Google Maps) from the view point. There is another starting point below Llactapata if you arrive by train, but most tours start at km88, the end of the road.

Inca Ruins

Inca Ruins next to the view point. Because you cannot get close to Llactapata (it’s quite a detour), I think they restored some walls close to the train, so tourists can see them up close on the first day.

Around 3pm we reach the place where many groups stop (Wayllabamba, 3000m). But with Llama Path, we keep going for another 2 hours to Ayapata (3300m). There is not much to do in camp anyway, and tomorrow, we’ll be glad we climbed those 300m already. Minutes after 5pm, everyone arrived at the camp. We were on the trail for over 8 hours (including breaks), mostly uphill! The confidence grows that maybe, this can be done! Personally I was happy it didn’t rain, as that might have dampened motivation of the troops.

Day 2:

Today is the day! We will climb Dead Woman’s pass and go above 4200m. It’s the highest point on the Inca Trail and it’s almost 1km higher than where we slept. Which means another early start (5am wake up call). The support team serves coca tea in the tents, but we are way too excited to sit in a tent.

Luckily there is no rain, and breakfast includes pan cakes with chocolate sauce and fruit salad. Nobody wants to be carried back on a horse so – at 5:30am – we hike on. On the way up, we get a bit of hail, and a bit of rain. Once we reach the pass, we take a few pictures, and then the clouds come in all the way and the pour starts. The groups that stopped early yesterday will have lunch up here – in the pour. For us going forward is the way out, so we mount our ponchos, and descend into the rain clouds.

View back from dead woman pass

View back on the trail from Dead Woman Pass, displaying the sexy lama sign. We are at 4200m, and the next two hours will be downhill. In the pour! (Rain <-> Rain Jacket, Pour <-> Poncho)

We hike on, steep down to the temple of the lunch at Pacamayo. We’ll drop 700m over the next two hours.

During a break in the rain we can see the temple of the lunch at Pacamayo, and the Peruvian flat trail leading to it. Don’t be fooled, it’s (flat) steps descending all the way, and the uneven rocks require constant concentration. They Inca cobble stones beat a mud path, though.

By the time we arrive at Pacamayo, it’s pouring again, and heavier. But in the lunch tent it’s dry, and the food is delicious. It keeps pouring while we eat, and the porters crowd into the kitchen half of the tent, or seek cover in the bathroom buildings. We need to go on, there is the second pass waiting for us. So we put our wet ponchos back on, and march on. The 400m climb up to the second pass is the steepest yet. Sometimes the Inca Trail becomes a creek, but the centuries old Inca stairs are holding up very well.


Runkurakay on the way up is a small Inca outpost, and we don’t linger long and continued to the second pass.

Orchids on the Inca Trail

Orchids on the Inca Trail

We walk through fairytale Polylepis forests. Polylepsis are odd and rare and thrives only in the cold mist and thin air of the Andes Mountains. The orchids are beautiful.

The worst thing about the rain is that there are no views of the mountains, but the path and the ruins are beautiful in the fog. Mostly, it feels like Middle Earth, except the hobbits are a lot more colorfully dressed. Or maybe Dagobah?

When we reach the steps to Sayaqmarka a decision has to be made. We have been on the trail for over 10h, we climbed two passes, including 4200m Dead Woman Pass. It’s a no-brainer for everyone, although the group is split between no-brainer-no and no-brainer-yes. But we are not going to just ignore steps like this, are we? After all, it’s not even raining right now.

The 108 Steps to Sayaqmarqa

The 108 steep Inca steps to Sayaqmarqa. Do they look promising? Or dangerous? There is no way we are not going up these steps.

Sayaqmarqa means innaccessible town, and it’s a good name. The city is placed on a ridge, accessible only through two very narrow and steep stair cases (on of which is still covered by the jungle). It’s a fortress with an irrigation system that provides water to the inhabitants. They built a little aqueduct to bring the water in over the city wall, and irrigation canals throughout the city.



Sayaqmarka IrrigationSayaqmarka Irrigation

After 12 hours on the trail, we arrive in camp. We are hungry, wet, cold, tired. This was the most strenuous day in their live for most of us. But we all did it, and we arrived in day light. They guides tell many stories about this day, and what it takes to get clients to finish. Almost everyone makes it, but some arrive late at night, some on the back of porters.

Day 3:

Today we sleep in – 6am – as we have an easy day, and it’s going to be mostly downhill. The weather improved over night, and we are treated to a view.

View from Chaquiqocha

A promising morning: We wake up to a view.

Tomorrow, we’ll get up at 3am, so this leisurely morning is a great time to take a picture with our porters. The porters make the Inca Trail experience possible. We have a total of 11 porters, which include a chef, a sous-chef – learning to be a chef –  a waiter, a head porter – who has a different hat color – and security, who especially watches the tents when client gear is in them, but no clients, e.g. for dinner. All 11 carry full loads, including a mess tent (the grey tarp covered one above) that doubles as sleeping tent for the porters and three four-people igloo tents (green above). Llama Path puts 2 people and their gear into the four people tents, which is spacious. For our group of 5, we asked them to carry only 2 tents for the family (and one for the guide).

Inca Trail Support Team

Our whole support team (Lio, the guide, taking the picture). Dennis, the chef on the left, followed by the sous-chef and our waiter. On the right we have the head porter (black hat) and camp security (yellow vest)

The hike starts with an short twenty minute climb and then Peruvian flat to the third pass. That’s the first place with bars. Not the drink kind of bar, but the cell phone signal kind of bars. We don’t stay long, given there is no view, and nothing interesting happening on the Internets anyway.

Incatrail Day 3 uphill.

Inca trail Day 3 uphill.

We are ready for the over 3000 steep Inca steps down until the “gradual downhill” starts. It’s raining, but not pouring, so the ponchos stay in the packs. Earlier, I mentioned the word steep. Compared to what’s coming, that steep section yesterday was gradual.

Inca Trail Steps in the Rain

Rosalio pondering a short flight of stairs.

Our descent takes us down to Phuyupatamarca, the City above (or in) the clouds. Today, it’s in the clouds. And it’s even more awesome than what we have seen so far.

In Phuyupatamarca we find a black lama, which are extremely rare, and were favorite sacrificial animals of the Incas. Rosalio jokes about sacrificing it for better weather, and I am getting all excited, but we end up saving the animal.

About an hour before camp, there is another intersection: Take the a porter shortcut directly to camp at Wiñawayna, or detour to Intipata (Sun Place). Thanks to the Llama Path itinerary, we have plenty of time, and of course we head towards Intipata. However it’s pouring again, so we don’t spend too much time there, and just have a quick look at the convex terraces, then head down to Wiñawayna.

We arrive drenched at our camping spot, and head straight for the temple of the lunch. If we’d try to get into our tents, everything would be wet. In the afternoon, the rain stops for a few hours, and we use those hours to tour the amazing city of Wiñawayna.

For about the third time on this hike, this new city trumps everything we have seen so far. Wiñawayna is just beautiful and amazing. It has terraces, which are engineered for agriculture, and differ in clima from the top to the bottom, ancient temples, built with different walls, and aligned with the firmament, and residential houses and store-rooms. Wiñawayna also has an irrigation/plumbing systems, with a long row of fountains. You can spend hours just exploring this small city.

One geeky reason why these cities are so wonderful? They remind me of the dungeons we built at home to play games like Massive Darkness. You see, if you play these kind of miniature games, you need rooms and passages and you cannot really have roofs, because you need to move the miniatures. So we LARP for a few minutes.

Day 4:

The non-sacrifice worked! There is no rain, and you can actually see stars in the sky! You can also see far but it’s hard to tell, though, because we get up at 3am, and instantly head to the ranger station to line up at the entry gate. And we are the first group! After over 2 hours of waiting (and playing games on our phones) we pass the gate and start hiking towards the sun gate.

This trail brings more steep drops, amazing views (finally, more than fog filled abysses) and the steepest stairs of them all – You can touch the steps in front of you without bending over. In addition, they are a false summit. You think it’s the end, but it’s not, there is a final push after.

Steep Inca Steps, shortly before reaching the Sun Gate

The trail saves the steepest stairs for the last day.

Only a few people of the later groups catch up with us, so when we reach the Sun Gate, it’s pretty much just us. The other fast hikers have to wait for their groups, so we head out again as the first group, and arrive as the first Inca Trail group at Machu Picchu – and find a few hundred  people who arrived by bus!

Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

We made it! Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate. It’s less than an hour of gentle downhill from here.

By now the weather is fantastic, and a few hundred is still pretty empty for a city the size of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu will get it’s own blog post.

More Pictures

If you want more pictures, check out the 250 picture version!

By the numbers

  • Inca Trail with Llama Path, 4 days/3 nights.
  • Distance: 43km/26 miles.
  • Max Elevation 4300m/ ft at Dead Woman Pass.
  • Floors . Steps
    These numbers are measured by fitbit and cellphone (strava) and include some walking around ruins on the way. fitbit calories are for the full day.

    • Fitbit
      • Day 1: Distance: km/13.94 miles. Floors 341 . Steps 30,003. Calories: 6,852
      • Day 2: Distance: km/9.87 miles. Floors 382. Steps 21,237. Calories 7,298
      • Day 3: Distance: km/10.23 miles. Floors 85. Steps 26,384. Calories 4,547
      • Day 4: Distance: km/16.6 miles. Floors 135. Steps 35,784. Calories 5,714
    • Strava
      • Day 1: 8.4 mi, 3128 ft elevation gain, 2h:59min moving time
      • Day 2: 7.7 mi, 4443ft elevation gain, 4h:09min moving time
      • Day 3: 5.7 mi, 922ft elevation gain, 2h:28min moving time
      • Day 4:
  • Gringos 5: 2 adults, 3 kids.
  • Support 12: 1 guide, 11 porters – including 1 chef, 1 assistant chef, 1 head porter, 1 security, 1 waiter.
  • Backpacks
    • Porters (by 2003 law) are allowed to carry 20 kg/44 lbs each. 5 kg/11 lbs of this is for their own personal gear. Their packs get weighted all the time by the head porter (and re-distributed if needed), and at check points by the rangers.
    • With Llama Path, you can give 7 kg to a porter (if you pay for it upfront). This includes 3 kg for the sleeping pad and bag, which leaves you with 4kg – enough.
    • Porters make 43Soles or $15day. Tip recommendations on the Web vary widely, and are confusing as some numbers are per group, others per day, etc. and they don’t add up if you do the math. Llama Path recommends 65 soles per porter, twice that for the Chef and above that for the guide.

Picture of Inca Trail Elevation Profile on a sign on the Inca Trail

Inca Trail Elevation Profile


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