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Location: Andes

Near 6:00am, some awoke to the rooster’s calls while the rest of us turned our faces into our pillows hoping to catch one more hour of sleep. When 7:45 rolled around, we all huddled around the table for a yummy breakfast. We will can’t figure out why scrambled eggs are served when the inn offers a completely vegetarian selection of food. Anyways, James and Ivy informed us that a guide said we had a 30 minute walk to our service location. Well…an hour and fifteen minutes later…we reached the location after an uphill hike in the mountains. Always trying to catch our breath, yet struggling to hold our shovels and pick axes, our whole group struggled to make it to the destination. Then we saw the somewhat path-like area we were going to be working to make useable. Our guide knocked down massive chunks of dirt and rock. We smashed the clumps of dirt but the wind kept blowing sand into our eyes. The discussion of using swim goggles to battle the sand entertained us as we flattened the path, made steps, and dug a canal for rain water. A few hours passed, then we realized our guides had set fire to some plants! The wind was whipping the smoke all around and we were beginning to think the men wanted to punish us for taking so many breaks! Actually, there were some prickly plants blocking our route and fire seemed like the best solution to remove the blockade. We ate our lunches with the wind whipping in our faces, and soon after, we hiked back down the mountain and reached the Black Sheep Inn with our lungs in serious pain. Ten warm showers later, we huddled in the yoga studio, splurged and bought some sodas and talked for a couple of hours. A local vendor appeared again and we all bought some socks, hats, and ponchos with llamas on them. We had a meeting with James and Ivy to discuss some lessons of the trip and finally wandered off to dinner. Broccoli soup with popcorn, a potato surprise with tomatoes and mushroom gravy, and a gooey green fruit (babaco) filled our stomachs. We left room for hot chocolate and cookies though as we went around a bonfire. The wind blew and so did the fire. Embers went everywhere and the fire decided to attack Serena! (More of a threat than an attack). James decided it would be smart not to burn down the Inn or any of us, so we sat around a pile of ashes for an hour as we told embarrassing and scary stories. We all headed off to bed exhausted and sore from our hard day’s work. We all hope to wake up refreshed and energized for the next adventure, yet we know our dreams will be filled with images of snails, grubs crawling in our stomachs, and falling 13 stories from a tree in the Amazon. Tomorrow we will be hiking up a crater with a lake of the inside and spend six hours hiking!