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

Update from Trek!

Dear Dragons friends and families,

The A&A-A group is on the 6th day of their Choquequirao trek, an ambitious mountain excursion organized 100% by the student group.  Choquequirao is a remote Incan Citadel that was constructed after the Spanish conquest as the last standing Incan outpost.  It was never discovered by the Spanish, but was mysteriously abandoned some years after it’s construction (likely due to the onslaught of illness brought by the colonizers).  This lesser-known archeological site is quite impressive, constructed in three levels that cling precipitously to the mountainside and reflect the three worlds that are considered to exist simultaneously in Andean spirituality: Kai Pacha, the world we inhabit in everyday life; Ukhu Pacha, a mystical underworld made up of fantastical creatures; and Hannaq Pacha, the celestial world dominated by the sun and the moon.  In the Choquequirao complex, the lower world is made up of elaborate agricultural terraces that hang from the mountainside.  Kai Pacha, the middle world is made up of common dwellings and plazas.  The upper level, located at the tip of the mountain, is made up of ceremonial spaces and temples dedicated to the celestial powers.  An elaborate network of perfectly preserved canals carry fresh water from the uppermost temple all the way down to the agricultural terraces far below.

This stunning site receives very few visitors, primarily due to the challenging two-day journey by foot required to access the ruins.  The group spent a rest day exploring the ruins before continuing on the original pathway towards Machu Picchu.  The Machu Picchu ruins can actually be seen from the top of the Choquequirao citadel, far off in the distance across the folds of the Andes.

The team has been sending up brief Satellite updates, and reported the following yesterday:

The trek has been very beautiful.  Students are performing incredibly well in their group dynamics and organizing the logistics of this final part of the itinerary.  We as instructors feel really proud of how much the group has been practicing Spanish and working together. Choquequirao was incredibly beautiful and we felt the powerful energy and history of the place.  

The team will be wrapping up their trek and Machu Picchu visit over the next couple of days, and should be posting updates soon.