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Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Walking on Sacred Ground

A trek can be so much more than walking from point A to point B looking at beautiful sights along the way. Our group spent the last three days intentionally and humbly walking on sacred ground, forging a deeper connection with the spirit of the Andes. We were guided by Miguel Inti from Nacion Q’eros and Pablo, Francisco, Raymundo and Dimas Condori, a family from Upis who has worked with Where There Be Dragons groups for over 15 years, and their nine horses.

Before we even began to walk we met Siwar, Miguel Inti’s father, in Ocongate for a special ceremony. We blew our hopes and prayers into coca leaves and burned them in the fire with other ritual offerings to pachamama. As we walked through the mountains, Miguel Inti played sweet songs on a wooden flute and charango, sending beautiful music as an offering to the apus. We sat in quiet contemplation at Otorongo lake, looking into its deepest depths while reaching into our own. We hiked high up to Campa pass (16,600 ft), willing ourselves each step forward in order to pay homage to the apus who permitted our journey and blessed us with good weather.

During this trek we came together as a family. We supported each other through moments of struggle and sickness, we cooked meals for each other, and we slept in tents under the silhouettes of massive mountains and cold, clear night skies filled with thousands of stars. When attuned to this environment, it is hard not to feel incredibly small and humbled to be a part of a much larger ecosystem. It cultivates a desire to give, from whatever gifts we can offer. We are so grateful to have had this time to reflect, and connect, with ourselves, with each other, and with the sacred land that we were walking on. It was an appropriate way to end our orientation travel period and prepare ourselves to settle into our homestays in Urubamba.