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

First Trek!

Hola Familias!

We have been in Bolivia for exactly ten days now but it already feels like a lifetime ago that we arrived at the airport and were greeted by Jhasmany, Sandy y Jesse. The first five days we spent in an amazing eco lodge which felt like a small haven for us to grow and learn before we started to explore the cities. During our time we learned how to be better group members and how to become better travelers. After soaking up tons of new information we began our first trek where we could put some of what we learned into action. I personally had never trekked before this trip and I was a bit nervous to be carrying my huge backpack for many hours in a row however with the encouragement from my group members and mentally pushing and challenging myself I completed the first day of hiking with our backpacks. We were lucky enough to be guided through the mountains by Don Mario and his daughter Lina, two people who have inspired me endlessly. After each uphill I would look back down at the landscape and feel so rewarded. As I was trying to catch my breath it was just impossible because the beauty of the mountains took it all away. I have never seen so much beauty in the span of five days as I did during this trek in Toro Toro National Park. Taking time to sit on a rock in silence and try to take in what we are seeing was something I will cherish. Looking out into the endless range of mountains reminded me just how small I really am. A feeling that is both comforting, yet terrifying. It reminded me how big the world we live in is and I felt so grateful to be able to explore just a fragment of the nature this world has to offer. Listening to the stories and history from Don Mario helped me to understand the land we were traveling through in a more personal way. To learn how people had to fight to preserve the land made me more aware and appreciative of the nature around me. Laughing around the campfire, supporting people while climbing, and cooking delicious food together will be memories I will cherish forever. Looking back on this trek I have to say it was one of the best weeks I have ever experienced. Although it was challenging, and although for the majority of the trip my stomach was not happy, I could not have asked for a better first trekking experience.

Te extraño mucho!

Teagan