Friday, May 22, 2015

Waterfalling, stargazing, and lots and lots of rests

One of my favorite days from the trip was day two in Chinchero. I could talk about the potato picking and eating, and while that was great, it was what we did afterwards that will stick with me forever. The two children of the hotel we were staying at decided to take us to a waterfall down a mountain.

First off, the views were absolutely breathtaking. There was this one snowcapped mountain that was in our sight the entire time we hiked down the mountain and I just could not believe how beautiful it looked. It was at that moment when I really was able to understand the magnitude of our trip. We were hiking alongside the Andean mountains, and that's not something any random person can say. Upon reaching the waterfall, we were mesmerized by the beauty around us. The sound of the water rushing down and hitting the ground drowned out anything I was thinking about and for a few minutes, I lay down next to the waterfall, closed my eyes, and just listened while the cool mist fell on my face. A huge shoutout goes to Adam, who went in the water and you could tell how amazing of an experience it was for him because he could not smiling and was still warm even though the water was cold (the power of adrenaline).

It didn't stop there. It was getting late, so we began our trek back UP the mountain. This was the most difficult hike I had ever done. You can add up 1) constantly walking up 60 degree slopes 2) tired legs after a long day and 3) the highest altitude we had experienced and you could guess that we were exhausted. It had gotten dark halfway through the hike, so during our breaks, we would just turn off our flashlights and look up at the stars. Because we were so high up in the mountains and away from any artificial light, we were able to see a lot of stars, including Jupiter and Venus! It was so amazing to see all of the stars in silence, and then keep walking.

Overall, the hike to and from the waterfall is something that will always stick with me, and one of the most important things is that there were no tourists. This was not a popular destination. People didn't know about this. It was just us and nature. And it rocked.

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