The First Person to See Machu Picchu in 2012



Aric S. Queen was on a quest to be the first person at the ancient Inca city of  Machu Picchu, Peru, on January first. However, that involves some high-altitude walking uphill first thing in the morning, and he despaired as other hikers passed him by. But at the gate, serendipity gave Queen the opportunity to go first.
Ten-plus years of travel, forty-plus countries, countless marvels, but this is the only place I cried at seeing.

One photo was snapped from my phone — those four seconds were the maximum amount of time I wanted to take my eyes off of it.

For 30 seconds, I sat in silence – not even realizing what I had just done.

It took the sound of footsteps behind me to bring everything back to the present. And it took the sounds of voices to realize that when I had first gotten up – there were none.

An estimated 1.2 million people this year, and I was visitor no. 0,000,000,001.

Read Queen's story and see a video of the adventure at Intelligent Travel magazine. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!

(Image credit: Aric S. Queen)

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Man, I hate to be a downer since this guy seems really into it (and why I'm not posting at NG), but the first people to see Machu Pichu aren't the those coming from town in the morning, it's the people finishing their hike along the Inca Trail. Pretty much all hikers leave Wiñay Wayna in the dark so they can arrive at the Sun Gate by dawn to see the sunrise over Machu Pichu.
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In the sprit of the Troll post above, and to give Matt G some company, I'll say this:

His choice of a time period with which to be #1 is an irrelevant man-made construct that has zero meaning beyond what he himself gives it. Everyone who came after him was also #1 for the next year (or 1000, or 1,000,000,000,000,000, or whatever years). As was the last guy who came the day before him.

But he got a good endorphin rush from it, so good for him.
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my friend and i ran into machu pichu on the last day of our hike to the ruins. we climbed huayna pichu in 30 minutes (the large peak usually in the background of machu pichu pics) and were at the top for 15-30 minutes before anyone arrived at the ruins. lucky for us, we were acclimated to the altitude after being in cusco for the summer. it was the most amazingly peaceful experience to overlook the ruins in such complete silence and serenity. it wasn't on the first day of the year, though! :)
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The first person of the year? That really is pretty meaningless, escpecially since the Inca people had a different calendar to our own.
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It's nice to be in one of those places when it's not crowded, I'll admit. But his "I was first in 2012" is pretty arbitrary.

I was the first person in the Forum baths at Pompeii one day. I was able to get some nice photos without all those pesky tourists in em. I didn't feel particularly special, though.
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