Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Peru and The Andes!

A few years back my friend Mary got me involved in an awesome nonprofit organization called HEFY (Humanitarian Experiences For Youth) which is an organization that gives LDS teens the opportunity to visit another country for a couple weeks and also give some manual labor humanitarian service to the people there. While on the trip the teenagers get to hang out with the local LDS youth and see how the locals live. It's seriously the most AMAZING trip for these teens, it changes their lives. Being exposed to different cultures, seeing completely different things, being away from Snap Chat for over two weeks... it becomes a treasured experience.

That first year I was involved with HEFY, Mary and I were the trip leaders for a Fiji expedition. We helped about twenty teenagers build six flushing toilets for six different families in a small village on the island. The trip was mind-blowing for me, I fell completely in love with Fiji and the whole HEFY experience. When it was time to leave... I cried all the way home. A couple summers later I got to go again, this time with my younger brother (Max) as my co-leader, to run the same trip... which was another wonderful experience.

After that second trip to Fiji I sort of thought my HEFY trip days were over. The organization was growing and had plenty of new trip leaders applying for positions and being trained, I felt like I was a little too old, or grizzled, to be the youthful dancing trip leader that can keep teenagers happy and motivated.

But, I was wrong. This year HEFY contacted me at the very end of April saying they had a couple of leaders back out of doing trips, and they wanted me to come as long as possible on a Peru expedition to train the two new trip leaders.

I was stoked! I had never been to Peru and really never ever saw me having a chance to go, and it was a complete slice of pie with a cherry on top that I didn't have to fully lead the entire HEFY trip. I could rely on the vim and vigor of the younger trip leaders that were coming to keep up with the teens, and I could be the ornery older trip leader that enforced all the rules! Perfecto!

Five weeks later I was on a plane to Lima with a bunch of crazy teenagers...

...then I was on another plane to Cusco (the oldest city still populated in South America)

...then I was on a train to Aguas Calientes (a city you can only get to by train or by foot)

...then I was on a bus to Machu Picchu

...then I was hiking to the top of Wayna Picchu

...and this is what I saw:

Seriously, how am I so lucky? As an inspiring proper mountain woman... these mountains were singing to my soul! I felt so blessed that I got to go on this spontaneous trip- Machu Picchu is all it's hyped up to be! It was awe-inspiring. And the Andes were equally as breath-taking, standing on those cliff edges, surrounded by the giant mountains was unreal.

Below is a picture of Machu Picchu, the green arrows show where we started our hike to Wayna Picchu and where the hike ended (which is where I took the picture above):

It was a rad hike... read a little bit more about it here.

And below are a few shots I took while wandering around the site after the hike.
I was thrilled for myself, and for the teens on the trip, that it was such a beautiful day.... 

That Andes backdrop.... stunning.

Walking around and taking everything in had me wondering about the people that lived here so long ago.
They must have been so strong and innovative.
They must have been nature lovers and loved creating.

No doubt, the proper mountain women from that time loved these mountains and views.
I wonder if they enjoyed hiking.
I wish I could have met them.

1 comment:

  1. what a sight. I would love/need to spend several days just enjoying the amazing view and contemplating the history. I agree: awe-inspiring.


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