Ascending through thick pools of mist, two alien figures climbed up into the blinding white sky above, trudging along uneven stone steps worn from centuries of Incans before decades of the world’s explorers. The pair had long before split off from the masses and climbed to a grassy slope where several llamas rested lackadaisically in the morning dew, turning to face the heat from the rising sun that hadn’t quite shown through the clouds. I paced beside my brother beyond the camelid monks and out across the arcing grass slope to a stone pathway that traced the contour of the mountainside. The first true light from the burning sun penetrated the cloud layer as a soft drizzle fell silently; and there in the light of the morning sun, the great citadel of Machu Picchu emerged from the ephemeral mists as if we were experiencing its first discovery.
I surveyed the monumental locale before me, the nigh-impossible structures and the thronging masses that had begun to ebb and flow among the stones. But one piercing signal of a thought overwhelmed the cacophony that encircled me: how amazing was it that I could share this astounding experience so far from home with my brother.