Rainy season. But it didn't matter. We hiked, and we loved it. In part, our pleasure stemmed from Carlos, our excellent guide. Carlos was honest -- said those first two days would be the most difficult; when asked about mud, he said we'd have it; said the up on day #2 would take five hours and it took four, then fives hours for the downhill...spot on.
He was respectful -- stayed with us when we might have needed some encouragement, then hung back or went ahead just when we might have wanted to be alone on our walk. How did he know? Carlos worked for us -- made sure our tents were protected just in case of rain, helped serve the wonderful food that our cook supplied, gave us alternative possibilities so that we could make informed decisions about routes, breaks, styles of hiking, joked gently when appropriate... and always made sure he was keeping in touch on a daily basis with each member of the group. And when that mud finally arrived, we coped with it well because Carlos had made sure that we knew about it.
I also appreciated his information once we arrived at Machu Picchu. His orientation helped to make that day the pleasure it was. Even though my vertigo prevented me from the hike up Huayna Picchu, Carlos nudged me gently... until he actually saw the problem when I hugged a stone wall as I descended one modest staircase. He realized, and then he affirmed my decision to head to Sun Gate instead. Could not have been more pleased.