The Traveler: Sue Kirchoff of Minneapolis.

The scene: Kirchoff was traveling on the road between Cusco and Manu National Park when she saw this ancient funeral tower as the mist began to lift. It is just one of many; collectively they are known as the chullpas of Ninamarca, remnants of the Lupaca, a pre-Inca culture. “The people buried in the funeral towers, or chullpas, are believed to be Lupaca leaders who lived in the area,” Kirchoff wrote an in e-mail.

The Destination: “It’s a fascinating, otherworldly sort of place that’s off the beaten track. Surrounded by nature, these structures were built during the 13th and 14th centuries, and they’re still standing. Places like this remind me of how little I know; how much there is to explore and to learn,” Kirchoff wrote. “Our final destination, the Manu Biosphere Reserve, was a sprawling national park that included mountains, cloud forest, jungle and more butterflies than I could count. Known for its rich bio­diversity, it provided a welcome contrast to the captivating but crowded Machu Picchu, which we had visited a couple of days before.”

Getting the shot: Kirchoff used a Nikon D600 digital camera with a Nikkor lens — and the luck of timing — to get this moody shot. “We were fortunate to be traveling through the area when the morning mist had dissipated enough for us to see the chullpas but still lingered in the mountains in the background,” she wrote.

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