A few years ago, a group of people on an adventure trip were able to find the lost city of Llactapata. It had originally been discovered by Hiram Bingham when he discovered the lost city of Maccu Pichu. They reported their findings to the government. When they came back the following year to do more clearing on the land, they discovered the nearly perfect building had been looted and destroyed by people looking for gold.
The only thing that the government is interested in is the value these places as a tourist attraction. The government has been asked to post guards on this site, but as of a few years ago, nothing had been done.
Laapidary is a term used to describe craftsmen who are highly skilled in stone work or jewelry. The ancient Incas are as good as any the world has ever know for their work on these structures.
Gabriella was excited, nervous and somewhat uneasy. Her husband was the curator for a big museum at the local college. Maybe she had been right about him all along. Now maybe her parents would see him in a better light. Gabriella had normally dated a bunch of "bad boys" in high school and college. She had been burned out with all of their maniacal egos; their endless flirtations with other women and sexual demands.
Gabriella had taken a whole new direction with her personal life after she had started working. During a guided tour of the local college archeological museum, she had been approached by the tour guide, which unknown to her was the museum curator. Gabriella was twenty two at the time, and he was almost twenty years older. He was not a particularly athletic looking man. He was a studious man. She had gone out with him reluctantly on a casual basis. She was not that excited when he proposed to her. She had decided to marry him for a number of dubious reasons. One was that she needed to change the direction of her social life from being on the back of a Harley, to the passenger seat of a BMW. She needed to change from constantly being on the verge of eviction, to the five-acre lot in the suburbs that took most of the weekend on a riding mower to maintain.
Her parents weren't that wild about the prospects of a son-in-law that didn't know how to change the oil in his own car. He didn't know how to over-seed the lawn, or spray for Henbit. Gabriella didn't care. She could do all that. For the first time in her life, she had some sort of stability in her life. Her disappointing romantic and sex life seemed to take a lower priority when their daughter Stephanie came along. They had a common interest now, or at least, so she thought.
When the news came that her husband Brad was going to have a full semester sabbatical; and that they were going to Peru to search for Llactapata.
In 1911 Hiram Bingham had published his archeological findings for Maccu Picu and Llactapata. The world has since recognized the findings for Maccu Picu as one of the outstanding discoveries of architecture. However, nobody had been able to find Llactapata since then. Was this place a myth? Were the bearings he gave to this other city wrong? Brad had to find out.
He had spent several summers examining other documents and writings of others who had tried to find it. He had been on air searches where they had spent months gridding off the mountainous area searching for the lost city. The cloud cover was too dense for aerial searches to be effective. Years of studies of maps from Google Earth had turned up nothing.
Gabriella felt some sense of vindication for her choice in husbands. Their daughter, Stephanie was devastated. She was going to spend the summer before her freshman year climbing mountains in the middle of savages. There would be no cell coverage, no satellite coverage, no bathrooms and no friends. She was just getting old enough that her parents would consider letting her date. She was just old enough at fourteen, to get a learners' permit.
Gabriella knew that in time she would have memories to last a lifetime.
Brad had spent lots of time collecting maps of the area. He had GPS devices for everybody. He had satellite phones for everybody. He had a laptop and flash drives for information and photographs. He was all set.
They flew to Florida and caught a connecting flight to La Paz, Bolivia. Brad had spent a lot of time analyzing the route. He knew that his wife and daughter were very fit from their miles of jogging.
From La Paz, they took a four hour train to Cusco. Walking along the world famous Inca Trail was an incredible experience. The 28-mile hike took them past villages, forests, valleys, and mountains, and was an excellent way to taste the flavor of the local culture. The Inca Trail hike took about four days and was a memorable and unique way to experience this world wonder. This Sacred Valley tour combined the Inca trail with visits from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
Once Stephanie got over the mosquito bites, she had a wonderful time sending back pictures of the trip and posting stories of her experiences on her Facebook page for her friends.
Once they climbed the trail to the top of Machu Picchu, the clouds seemed to part and they seemed to be magically transported back a thousand years. They could feel the presence of the villagers, chipping the stones, pushing them into place and caring for the crops along the terraces.
Brad took out his transit, binoculars and lots of other digital equipment and compared the readings to the old maps and new pictures from Google earth. Gabriella and Stephanie spent several days exploring the area while Brad spent most of the time trying to get bearings from different parts of the mountain.
Brad had almost a mystical look on him when he said they were leaving. Gabriella was sad to hear they were leaving. Once they got to the bottom of the mountain, Brad got rid of most of their equipment. They could get water at many places. They took lots of small light packages of Jerky and a few clothes. It was going to be several days of brutal climbing, and they needed to pare down their supplies as much as possible. Each had a gun, machete, and backpack.
Brad was secretive about where they were going. He did not want them discussing anything in public. They took a short train ride down the valley. Brad had seen something on Google Earth that he wanted to check out.
They got off the train about ten miles down the valley. They took two days to climb another mountain. It was hard brutal work to climb and hack their way up the vine covered granite outcroppings. They sat down for rest about two hundred feet from the top. Stephanie was hot and tired. She jabbed around in the ground with her machete. She dug up a small rock and threw it over the side, trying to hit the river below.
When she picked up another one, Brad stopped her before she threw it down. He took it and looked at it. There were chips in it. Somebody had already been using tools on this rock. He dug around some more and found more tailings to indicate somebody had been working on these rocks and they had fallen from higher up.
Brad was almost whipping the women to get them to the top of the mountain. They were beginning to see foot holds carved in the stone. When they got to the top, there was nothing there.
Or, was there? In a sense, you could see that the top may have once been round or of a different contour. Part of the peak still looked like it was what was left of a mountain top that was left after the rest had been cut down. It was hard to see because of some of the trees, but the part they were standing on was essentially a plateau of about the size of two football fields. It was much flatter than the surrounding mountain tops that they could make out through the mist and clouds.
He could see how the mountain top may have been terraced back from the edges to trap rain and moisture from the higher un-cut peak that was left over.
Brad sat down to go over his maps. He got out his binoculars to see if he could see Machu Picchu from where he was. Stephanie was again getting bored and started hacking on some large vines out of frustration. Something white seemed to be glittering in the sun. Gabriella walked over out of curiosity. The two women began hacking at some of the brush along the side of the mountain. They soon found that they were exposing large chunks of granite with tool marks in them.
Gabriella brought her husband over. "That's it." He screamed as he hugged the two bewildered women. They spent the next two weeks clearing the plateau they were on. Soon it was clear. They had found Llactapata. It was close to the bearings given by Hiram Bingham, but his bearings were off from the current satellite bearings.
During the weeks they were there, they found that they had uncovered a large granite cube, about twenty four feet square, but there did not appear to be any doors or windows out of it. They soon found that Brad's initial perceptions were correct; that the main topography had been contoured to trap water which drained into a deep cistern at the center.
They did not have to do much climbing for a couple of weeks, so Gabriella and Stephanie did not have to wear the heavy jeans and long sleeved shirts any more. Brad was becoming more and more intrigued with the women he had taken for granted for so long. He had been too busy at work to see how Stephanie had been slowly budding into a young woman.
He watched Gabriella and Stephanie descending from the lone remaining peak of granite and coming towards him. They had found some mushrooms they could add to their dried MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) packages.
.... There is more of this story ...