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A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes. Photo by Benjamin Swift (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist), South America Semester.

These Legs Are Made For Walking

Crackling knees and rolled ankles. That is a description of my body during trek and possibly the name of our Acapella group’s first album. Please comment other album name suggestions down below!

To preface this post, it is important to know that I don’t think my body has ever been as tired as it was when we reached the campsite after the 11.5 hour day of hiking to Maizal. My legs were shaking and all my limbs felt like they could fall off because of how heavy they were. That day was so taxing that some of us joked that life is now split into two sections: BC and AC (before Choquequirao and after Choquequirao).

Despite my fatigue, I learned a lot on trek. I learned many things about the Incas, including the fact that the Incan Empire was in the middle of a civil war when the Spanish arrived. More than that, though, I discovered the strength of my own perserverance.

After five days of trekking, we had the opportunity to take transport and Day Four I convinced myself I was going to take the car the following day. My legs were in pain and I wanted a break. However, for some reason when I woke up on Day Five, I had a desire to trek. I had told myself I was going to give up and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

I ate an excellent three-egg omelet, drank some papaya juice, and I was ready to go. With my trekking poles in hand, I started on the subida. Step after step after step, I continued on. Trailing Sophie the whole way, before we knew it, we had reached Hidroelectrica. We were so laser focused that we didn’t even notice when we reached the pass at the highest point of the mountain. We walked right by it.

Overall, I felt incredibly proud after finishing that day. I had reached my goal and proved myself wrong. Thanks for the beautiful views and challenges, Choquequirao!