Location: Hiking near Lares

Today was our second day hiking on our “glamping” trek. Getting up was a struggle for all of us due to the cold, windy weather, but the sun peeking over the tops of the mountain gave us some motivation. I think we were all more nervous for today because our guide, Santiago, told us it would be a harder hike than yesterday. Whatever reservations we may have had (which were automatically limited because, come on, we got to hike the mountains of Peru!) were lifted as the wind began to settle, and the sun came out in full force. I think the hike was easier for me out of the gate. One moment that stuck out to me, and probably all of us, was when we took a break somewhere near the middle of the mountain and looked back. We could see the campground, and it looked so small and far beneath us; it shocked me how far we had gotten in such little time and how nestled into the valley we were. At some points, we noticed how thin the trail was, meaning we could go tumbling down the mountain at any moment (this probably was not realistic).

On one break during the hike, I told some people about something I do with my family at home; it is called a “360.” You stand at one point and slowly rotate until you have completed a full circle, taking in and appreciating the world around you. Getting to the top of the mountain was trying at some points, but it was a true testament of how close we all have gotten because it was the support of each other that made the last minutes all the more bearable. At the top of the mountain, there was a buzz of excitement (literally because everyone was talking and laughing). The cherry on top of that cake was that we were able to see where our lunch area was set up on the other side.

Everyone felt frozen eating outside for lunch because the heat of hiking had worn off and the wind had kicked in. After eating, we were all ready to lay on the ground and rest or take a nap. Some of us participated in what I like to call a “cuddle puddle” because we all leaned up against each other to feel warmth; we were all very content. I forget who, but someone said something along the lines of “guys, we are lying in a field in Peru right now.” This resonated with me because, yes, we had felt cold and, yes, we were tired from our expended energy, but we were experiencing those things surrounded by the mountains of Peru, and there is no place I would have rather been. After this, we had two hours left to hike until we reached our campsite. This was spent walking through nature that might as well have been a scene in a storybook.

Getting to our campsite was extremely rewarding, and I was excited because we could hear the sound of rushing water from where we slept. Bridget took some time out so we could each wander (not far) and spend some alone time in nature. I know we all appreciated this time to be with ourselves, no matter how much we love spending time together. Before dinner, we all bonded by playing some games and talking to each other. One highlight of today was after dinner because all the lights were out and we got the experience the most magnificent array of stars. This was one of my favorite days so far because we all had the chance to be immersed in the beautiful nature, spent an unforgettable time with each other, and push ourselves to a very satisfying end. For the end of this blog, I am going to put my favorite quote: “To will be an awfully big adventure” – Peter Pan

P.S. Zoe and I decided that we are the most likely to fall off a cliff.