Okay… so I’m not even sure how to tell this story, because you aren’t going to believe it’s real life. In quick summary, during this trip, we camped at the foot of a glacier, hiked up to 15,000 ft., evacuated our campground on foot at night, carrying all of our belongings with us, and cutting a 4-day hike into 3 days because of a wild fire. Oh yeah, and we went to Machu Picchu.
The first day of hiking was something like 6 hours, mostly on a dirt road, although I did stay pretty winded for the first hour or so, which was more like on a trail and it was wildernessy. I did a little trail running in preparation for Ragnar Trail, since it’s coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ll do a separate post about the food, because you won’t believe what our cooks were able to do in the middle of the wilderness.
After we arrived at our camp site for that day, we decided to do an extra “little” hike up to a lake formed by melted glacier water. Basically, it was the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. The water was a blue-green color and really HD TV esque.
I don’t remember how long it took us to get there, but I felt terrible the entire way up because it was like a 45 degree incline and we were already at 12,000 ish ft, so I had a fair amount of trouble breathing. It made me really nervous about the following day, which was the hardest day of hiking we had scheduled. I took some altitude meds, and struggled to sleep because the idiots in the tents next to mine were rolling dice or something. However, they quieted down after a bit and it was all okay.
The second day of hiking was fairly terrifying. It was something like 12 hours long, and we had to hike up to this pass between two glaciers. That’s where the 15,000 feet thing happened.
In the first hour of the day, we encountered a really attractive, young, rugged, and fit-looking dude (I also imagined him as a Brit.) who was barely shuffling his feet up the mountain. I know it’s messed-up, but I felt pretty badass as I passed him. Then, I felt even more badass as I saw that he stopped and hired a mule to carry him over the pass. I, being way too hardcore for that, managed to put myself into a pathetic rhythm of 44 steps (yeah, I counted… what else was I going to do to endure the suffering?) before I stopped for a 60-second breather.
We made it to the top, and it was breathtaking. I know that being from the desert probably makes me a little more prone to awe when there’s natural ice surrounding me, but the clouds and the two glaciers… one of the coolest things I will probably ever see in my life. Steve brought a ton of verses he’d compiled about the glory of God and creation… and he totally couldn’t finish reading one of them out loud to us because it was all so moving.
That same day, we hiked back down kind of far, and ended up in the jungle.
I kid you not. W/in a matter of hours, we were in the jungle.
There were mosquitoes and plants and a river. It actually reminded me a lot of Jurassic Park. There were enormous leaves that looked waxy and fake, but they weren’t. We were also in a valley that was pretty much the same as the valley the helicopter flew into in Jurassic Park with the epic music playing.
That night, we camped next to a huge ravine that had a zip line across it. Lori wouldn’t ride it with me, but I totally wanted to give it a go.
I will tell you about the rest of the hiking in another post, so stay tuned. It was epic and legendary. 🙂