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

ToRo tOrO

For four days we followed a man/spirit named Don Mario like sheep following a shepherd. But we did not act like sheep–that is, we didn’t shirk from challenge and adventure. Instead, we engaged with a truly otherworldly high-altitude desert on an intimate level, ascending its peaks and descending its canyons. Our treks amounted to far more than mere transportation from point A to point B. Where the trail stopped, we did not. We followed Don Mario through untamed lands, navigating massive boulders and dense vegetation. The red rocks looming overhead were enormous and silent, neither forgiving nor hostile. We were like microscopic bugs on a huge creature who does not know or care that we are there. The fruits of our trek differed dramatically from what I expected–the pre-Incan ruins and dinosaur tracks were cool, but it all really boiled down to many challenging and magnificent variations on one question: Can we get from here to there?