Wednesday, March 12, 2014

To the Summit

Post by Mary and Katie
This morning we officially set off on our hike up a mountain in the Andes, to camp near the Canterras (quarries), where we would stay the night. The plan was to hike all day to the campsite, which was just a few hours hike from the summit. We started walking at 9:30, and everyone was excited for the day. 

Hiking was breathtaking, not only because of the beautiful surrounding mountains, but also because of the high altitude. We had to stop often to catch our breath and snack to maintain our high spirits. We paused for lunch on a flat part of land on the mountainside, not expecting the long table and chairs set up for us. This was 5-star camping. We were spoiled with the caravan of donkeys carrying tents, food, our sleeping pads, and duffels with our dry clothes in them. Cooks and caretakers worked tirelessly to feed us and keep us happy and healthy. 

We reached the campsite three hours after lunch. We were exhausted, but so proud of our accomplishment. The view made up for all of the pain along the way. The quiet serenity of the mountain, away from civilization with our best friends, was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After our delicious meal, the sun had set and the temperature dropped significantly. We bundled up and settled into our two-person tents. We couldn’t help but feel so lucky to be ‘on top of the world’.
We woke up early with the sun and a select bunch of eager hikers headed up to the Inti Punku, meaning the “sun gate”. This part of the hike was incredibly difficult and reaching the summit was absolutely amazing. We could see mountain peaks decorate the sky as far as the eye could see and the small towns inhabiting the valleys below us. Our campsite was just a speck in the distance beneath us, and although exhausted, we were so glad we took the energy and time to reach the top. Somehow the camera could not capture the view in front of us and we knew it would be something we would remember forever.


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