Today students reached their second highest pass: Pampaq’asa (14,435 ft / 4,400 m). Once over the pass, students lunched by the Silque river. Students continued walking until reaching their campsite at Ankascocha (12,795 ft / 3,900 m).
As I sit here in the dining tent writing this at 8:50 PM local time Anna, Max, Cole, Ryan, Charlotte, and Kyle B are playing cards, Casey and Jill are writing in their journals, and Didrik is drinking tea. We all are sitting here in long pants, mittens, fleece jackets, and blankets because the temperature is below freezing (30 degrees). Luckily we have warm sleeping bags and blankets waiting for us in our tents, which is where we are all headed.
Today we woke up at 5:30 AM with frost on our tents and our newly painted school in our view. We had one group leaving at 6:30 AM and another leaving at 7:00 AM. I was chosen to accompany the first group leaving at 6:30. My partner was Tiffany and we left only about 5 minutes late. For the first hour and 20 minutes the front group moved slowly, partly because it was early. After the first hour we started to climb up to the second highest point at the Chillipahua pass. With the rapidly changing elevation we moved up the terrain slower than any other hike. I went with Dave and Tiffany again, and we moved really slowly to acclimate slowly to the weather. We finally got to the top of the Chillipahua pass at 14,905 feet it was really windy. We sat up there and celebrated as we were at the highest point of the day. After we were done taking pictures of the beautiful scenery on the other side of the pass we moved down the huge mountain going all the way down into the valley for lunch, which was vegetable soup and small sandwiches.
After lunch I was Terry’s guide. He had injured his knee on the way down the hill before lunch so we took it easy. We moved through many large boulder/rock fields and other flat ground across many streams and rivers that proved tricky at times. After we got through the rivers and rock fields we started to go uphill on the side of a mountain that was mostly sand. I was looking at the beautiful, snow-covered Mount Veronica when we started to move on this narrow, slippery uphill pass and for a split second I took my eye off of my guiding. Fortunately Eric Alexander was behind me and caught Terry as I was taking a picture of the mountain. I then realized that I should probably focus on guiding Terry up the mountain and we moved up the rest of the mountain, which was scary for me, even having sight. The path was on the side of the mountain and was very slippery. After we got past this point we took our final short break while listening to a story from Dave. After this we hiked for another hour and 45 minutes to camp, completing our longest day of hiking. Our camp is at 14,330 feet, and currently at 8:42 local time there is frost on our tents already. We had dinner, which was vegetable soup, lamb, potatoes, and rice with chocolate pudding for desert. After dinner we got details on the next day, and headed off to bed.
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Here is a Empowering Quote that I like to live by, hope it helps you on your way.
Your living is determined not so much by what life brings you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
Lewis L. Dunnington
And I hope your journey is full…