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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

Success in Toro Toro!

Dear friends and family,

Our group has successfully completed our first trek! We spent an amazing 4 days in the high desert environment of Parque Nacional Toro Toro in central Bolivia. Over our four days, our hikes covered about 21 miles, climbing 3 peaks and exploring 2 deep red rock canyons flowing with fresh water. We had great weather: it rained all night each night, but days were dry and hot. Our final day was one of the group’s biggest challenges, descending about 4,000 feet through an 8-mile-long canyon full of parakeets, clear waterfalls, jungles, cactuses, and jumbles of car- or house-sized rocks that formed a maze for us to climb through. We wove our way through the rocks, climbing up onto sandstone ledges and crossing the river every few minutes to find the best route through this amazing landscape. Students finished the trek exhausted and very proud to have completed what was, for some, the most physically challenging day of their life.

Students mastered fundamental backcountry skills from setting up our pyramid-shaped tarp/tents to packing heavy packs to storm-proofing camp in rainy environments. We’re excited to continue exploring the wild places of Peru and Bolivia and to transfer the skills we’ve learned in the desert to the harsh environment of the high alpine peaks of northern Bolivia in March!

The Instructors: Parker, Itza, Ana, and Jeff