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Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' Peru Sacred Mountains Summer Program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.


Week One:
Orientation in Miami; Fly to Lima: museums, markets, NGOs. Bus to Huaraz for course orientation in the majestic Cordillera Blanca; celebratory feast, traditional music and dress.

Week Two:
Bus to Chiquian: extended mountain home-stay; sports with locals; wheat and quinoa harvest; traditional cooking; Collaborative community service project. Study Spanish.

Week Three:
Trek from homestays in Chiquian through the spectacular Cordillera Huayhuash

Week Four:
Bus and boat into Amazon basin: indigenous village visit, cultural preservation, traditional medicine and crafts, environmental conservation, diverse flora and fauna, inquiry into sustainable eco-tourism

Week Five:
Travel to Juliaca. Stay in village the on banks of Lake Titicaca. Boat to islands to camp and fish. Orphanage service project in remote village of Nunoa.

Week Six:
Explore Inca history in Cuzco, The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Possible hikes around Ausungate, a 21,000 foot peak near Cuzco. Travel from Cuzco to Lima for final service and development activities.

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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Sample Itinerary for Peru: Sacred Mountains

Dragons Administration,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons’ Peru Sacred Mountains Summer Program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for additional […]

Posted On

10/23/08

Author

Dragons Administration

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So I'm back in Newton. Its actually not as horrible as I remembered. I have clean sheets and showers and other such things that make my life easier and more comfertable but they lose some of there value with there accsesability. Changing my underware does not have the same thrill it did in Peru now that I have so many clean underware to change into. My friends are great but they are not u guys. Rooms feel lonley and large when there arn't ten people stuffed into them with ten enourmous back packs. And all we can really say to each other is that we miss each other, and those words have to sufice as an expression of all the confusion and disaray were finding our lives in now that weve left each other. But really Im doing OK. I'm off to the Cape soon where u all should expect to spend ur thanksgivings. I like the idea that all across the US twelve people are thinking about each other. Its like a big spiderweb of love. haha yes thats exactly what its like. I love u guys

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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I miss u guys

Lily Olson,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

So I’m back in Newton. Its actually not as horrible as I remembered. I have clean sheets and showers and other such things that make my life easier and more comfertable but they lose some of there value with there accsesability. Changing my underware does not have the same thrill it did in Peru now […]

Posted On

08/10/07

Author

Lily Olson

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here i am, i have made my way home but when i arrived at my house i did not feel like i was home. i felt like i was somewhere else, just walking around my house numb to any physical feelings. reading the poem foreigner over and over knowing that i could never explain the importance of this poem to anyone. everyone around me is asking too much of me...i feel like a foreigner in my own country, i feel uncomfortable with the luxuries that surround me but mostly i miss my family. the family that helped me walk through the night with hail and lighting falling around us, the family who succesfully trekked around ausungate, the family who was always watching out for eachother, the family who i saw the world with.

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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home…

Bree,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

here i am, i have made my way home but when i arrived at my house i did not feel like i was home. i felt like i was somewhere else, just walking around my house numb to any physical feelings. reading the poem foreigner over and over knowing that i could never explain the […]

Posted On

08/8/07

Author

Bree

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Just yesterday on the 5th, our group started talking about coming home. It was a difficult subject for all of us but that did not stop us from talking about it in great depths. I have personally started to set things up to be waiting for me when i get home such as new computer parts to update my computer alittle, cookies for the craving I have had this entire trip, and other miscellaneous things. But after having talked about coming home for so long, I am worried. I want time to reflect and be able to write in my journal or on the Yak Yak. I want to keep in touch with all the people from my group. I want to see my friends and hang out like we always do. I want to eat at all my favorite restaurants in all of 4-5 days each day eating more than 5 meals. Some of these things are really out of the ordinary, but I do not want to have to sacrifice any time: waste it I mean. Time is so much more important now that school is ominously approaching the radar screen. Having my class schedule and things to buy to get ready for school is also on the horizon. In some ways, I feel this will impede on my reflection time as well as my length "to do" list. I´m starting to panic a little here. We all have been this giant closely related family and we´re just going to separate. There are already talks of visiting New York for Halloween and coming to Chicago to eat some of the food I have been talking about for so long. I just hope that I can manage a balance between the social life I have to pick back up at home, reflecting on what I and my fellow group members have done and experienced, and also just having alone time to myself. There are things I want to do just by myself or just with my mom. I sense that my friends are going to have a hard time with this because they are going to want to see me, but I may have other priorities at that time. I don´t know. I don´t want to have to run around and be pressed for time for that is one of the things I have not had to do in Perú, rush. It has been a constant flow and easy, gradual action. But as I remember, the US is a very busy place. Instead of going to bed early and waking up early, many people wake up late and go to bed very late as well. There are some who do wake up early and go to bed late as well, but on the whole, cramming more into the day is always present in the US. I will write more on my thoughts later

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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I´m Scared

AP Orlebeke,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

Just yesterday on the 5th, our group started talking about coming home. It was a difficult subject for all of us but that did not stop us from talking about it in great depths. I have personally started to set things up to be waiting for me when i get home such as new computer […]

Posted On

08/6/07

Author

AP Orlebeke

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A beginning note: I started this post as soon as we ended the Ausangate trek, but was unable to finish until today, August 4th, due to other activities of both myself and the group. There is a lot of detail but I really wanted to flush out the entire experience so you would be able to understand the grandeur and magnitude of our experience in Ausangate. Enjoy!

Hi everyone! We are officially back in Cuzco and will soon be heading off to Lima . Let me just start by saying that the Ausangate trek was absolutely amazing. It is so hard to describe the experience because of all the different factors that went into it. Let me start with Day 1 of the "experience" as we did some very important things before we began trekking.

We met with a man, Jorge, and he got us started with buying food. He was accompanied by one of the main cooks, Yuri, who were both very welcoming and friendly. We headed to a big local market in Cuzco where we split into 2 groups. Most of us went with Yuri to get all the necessary food items while a few others went with Jorgé to get some other things. We got a ton of food. At least 10 pounds of chicken and beef, potatoes, carrots, beans, oats (for a kind of oatmeal which I will talk about more later), apples, mandarins, oranges, hot peppers, salt, sugar, popcorn seeds, quinoa, and some other veggies I can’t name. We carried these items out again and grabbed a cab where we were dropped off back at our hostel. After packing up our gear (excluding all gifts and cotton clothing), we headed to the bus station. The ride took a little more than 5 hours and seats were certainly not very luxurious but still calming for what we were about to do.

We arrived in Tinki later that night which was not far from what would be our camp site before finally heading off on our trek. We ate a pollería (a chicken restaurant) but they only serve chicken on Sundays for some reason. So we just had some rice and other mystery meat while the veggie people ate something slightly different. Came back to the hostel early as we had to be ready to go by 9-9 :30 to get to our campsite in Panchanta.

Slept well, and discovered how close we really were to Ausangate which is one of the most sacred mountains in Perú. I could clearly see the white capped peaks of the Ausangate mountain top. It was a pretty eerie feeling to be so close to such a significant, historical mountain. We talked for awhile about what to expect today and in the upcoming days while also assigning roles and subgroups that would do specific tasks in the group. Evan, Sara, and Danny were in one group and assigned "Eyes Group" which would be in charge of leading the trek that day and figuring out and knowing at all times where we were. Han, Bree, and Nick where in another group and dubbed the "Impact Group" where they would be in charge of cleaning up dishes, making sure we keep to our ways of Leave No Trace, and also, at the end of the day, present a little steel about an important part of leave no trace. Lily, Gabe, Prosper, and I were in the last group dubbed the "Cooking Group" where, obviously, we help the cooking crew prepare meals. Our "bus" came early in the afternoon which was more like a cargo truck with a long slender log down the middle for people to hold on to. We had much more room than our ride in the chicken truck to Ollintaytambo.

It was a bumpy ride over heavily rocky terrain and once we had to stop to fill in a spot where work was being done to remove a giant rock in the middle of the road. It was so beautiful to look around and only see a few houses with large fields amongst the grandeur the mountains and open land around it. Once we arrived at the campsite, we pitched our tents and had a little time to ourselves. Evan found a perfect place to sit, look at the area around us, and write in his journal. It was literally a bed and I was very jealous not to have found it myself. Kylee organized a little support exercise where we stood in a tight circle with a long rope and tied a loop around us and said a time or generally when that person has felt supported by the group. It was great to hear all the positive feedback from people and to also hear how specific people had been a beneficial and positive support for another. Once everyone had been tied, we untied ourselves by saying ways or times that we could be more supportive or weren’t supportive enough. Overall, it was a great exercise and I know everyone really enjoyed it. We had dinner early as we wanted to get up and out of the camp as early as possible so we wanted to go to bed as early as possible.

We had arranged with some families within walking distance to do a mini-homestay. I was so excited because we would all be very separated from each other and be entirely on our own. I don’t remember who everyone was with but every person had a partner. I was with Bree and we had a great time. We had walked 15 minutes with a guide to our house where we were instructed to sleep on the floor. They set up a few alpaca skins on the floor for us and when we had set up our sleeping bags, they also piled on blankets and pillows for us. It was really nice of them to take us in just for this one night and it was even better on the floor. All around us were small, little guinea pigs. They were squeaking quite loudly and it kinda scared us a little bit. We did not want them to poop on us nor go and tear up our stuff as they liked to nibble on the lamb skin. It was such a cool experience and it was so unique and different. I kind of wish we had done a homestay there because we would have actually worked and helped the families rather than just being guests. We were also a little frightened with the fact that outside the "not shut tightly enough door" there were several dogs that had barked at us very severely at our arrival. I was not thrilled with the idea of having to go outside to pee and have to fight off several dogs. Thankfully, nothing bad happened that night, I did go outside to pee but there were no dogs to be seen. Bree and I walked back to camp in the dark and arrived promptly at 6.

We had breakfast which consisted of some bread we had bought at the marked, assorted butter and marmalades, and "Quakor". This is quite a tasty drink consisting of milk, water, a little chocolate, and oats to make a drinkable liquid that is essentially oatmeal in a cup. It took us a while to pack up all the stuff and clean the camp and we had another problem, Prosper was not feeling well. It seemed that he was still not adjusted to altitude and was a little disoriented. As always, Ferr, Kylee, and Ellie were right there making sure his pulse was ok, that he was still functioning and he knew where he was and all that jazz. It wasn’t until around 10:30 that we had packed up the camp, loaded the llamas and horses that were coming along with our cooking crew that we were ready to start our trek. Unfortunately for Danny, right before we were about to leave, he realized that he was missing his camera. We were certainly not thrilled with this but we waited patiently for him and Daniel (one of the cooking staff) to run back to the home he stayed in last night to check if his camera was there. Meanwhile, we let a slower group of our members start heading up the little rocky hill toward Ausangate while the rest of us waited for Danny. Thankfully, when we personally looked through his bag to find the camera, we could not find it as well. Fortunately, when we could again see Danny, he had the camera in his hand. He was pretty lucky to get it back considering that one of the families last night wanted Evan to pay extra for staying with them.

We finally headed off. It was a very peaceful morning and we were all thrilled to finally be starting this trek. I had volunteered to take the med-kit and it felt really good around my waist. I was glad to be doing a little something extra for the sake of the group. It was this day that we were to travel over a high pass which was taller than the tallest mountain peak in the Continental US at 16,700. It wasn’t too difficult at first. We had only to climb a few small hills until we met up with the rest of the group. We continued on but had to stop frequently as we weren’t in very good shape . . . except Evan of course who is freaking jacked out of his mind. Both he and Danny were carrying their big bags and I really wished they hadn’t. I know that if Evan was starting to hurt he would just push on through, but in the case of Danny, I was worried that we would all half to help bare his burden. I knew I would be tested to my limits today and I wasn’t comfortable having to help someone else when I wasn’t in the best shape. Sara was the leader and Ferr was giving her a hard time because of communication. Ferr always wants communication and to know exactly what’s going on, for how long, and other such questions. This was getting to Sara a little, but she kept her head up and her wits about her and pushed forward to the high pass. It took a long time to get to the top of the high pass that day with frequent stops that made us worried because we were behind schedule from Danny’s return to find his camera. Would we have to continue walking in the dark to reach our campsite? Not long after it got really getting steep, Danny was struggling. You could see how much he wanted to keep going, but carrying all is stuff just seemed to wear him down. He said it was just because of the altitude because he was having a headache but we all didn’t want to have to rest longer for him. Several members of the group redistributed his gear so as not to slow us down. I was truly exhausted and out of breath when we finally reached the top. The air was very thin and living really close to Lake Michigan , I am used to full, thick, juicy oxygen, but here it is very different. Considering it was the first day, I and the group did a really good job. Sara kept a really nice pace for all of us when going up the pass and I think we were all grateful for it.

We took a bunch of group photos and I must say, the landscape that we saw that day was so spectacular. Huge mountain cliffs with snow capped peaks, grassy low lands, crystal clear pools of water, the bright sun; it was all extremely beautiful and unfortunately, a camera cannot capture the true beauty of what we saw and experienced. We decided to make a Kahrn. All on top of this pass were small to medium sized towers of rocks built by other travelers. They are used for good luck and man did we want to have all the luck we could. We each had some snacks as our breakfast and lunch did not quite measure up to the task that first day, but we were ready to continue. It took a long time to get back down to flat land and it was very easy going and we did not have to stop that often for breaks. Once we did get to totally flat land, I was upset. I was tired, hungry, exhausted, and frustrated that we had not yet happened across our camp. I had heard from someone there was only an hour left so being in the state I was, I rushed ahead with Gabe to hopefully find the camp. Then an hour became an hour and a half, and the clouds told us there was a storm coming. This did not make the situation for me any better as I had left all my raingear including my backpack cover in my backpack which was with the animals that were now at the campsite. Evan was nice enough to lend me his backpack cover and I wrapped it around myself. It helped but it did not at all help my frame of mind. I was pissed. We were walking, cold, through a hail storm, and it was starting to get dark. In addition, it seemed that no one was moving quickly as if they wanted to be slow in the storm. I must say, the only thing that kept me walking was the hope that there was a campsite just over the hill that would have tents already pitched and a delicious and piping hot dinner.

My wish could not get granted. It got dark and we all pulled out our headlamps. I was towards the front pushing forward over the increasing difficult to see terrain. As it got pitch black, it was now past 6:30 and probably past 7:30 as well. All I could see was the few feet of trail in front of me and the dots of lights from people behind me. After about another 30-45 minutes of walking, we reached a really muddy area. I found a weird way of getting around but made it no problem. However, no one was following my path. They instead chose to make there own and sadly, Han’s boot got stuck. It was funny (well not then because we were all miserable) because the rest of the group tried to retrieve it, but it appeared as if it had been swallowed by the mud. Han was now wet and missing a boot and we had to do something. I had kind of secluded myself to wallow in my frustrations of the day but not long after we got moving again, we saw a small speck of light ahead of us. It took another 15-20 minutes before we came face to face with the bearer of the light, Yuri. Man, was I happy to see him! We didn’t walk much farther before we hit the camp. It was still hailing hard and I just crawled into a tent. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. Because only 2 tents were put up, a third was needed to house the instructors and I could hear from inside the tent the group members working hard in the cold and through the hail. I finally gathered the energy to open up my pack and pull out my ground mat and sleeping bag. Once I had set those up I was set on just SLEEPING and NOT being disturbed. I made sure I was not taking up too much room and I just went to sleep. Ellie was nice enough to wake me up when dinner was ready and bring me some soup but that was it. I slept like a log.

Waking up in the morning I was sore. I definitely had some of my energy back but I was not 100% better. I was the only one left in my tent as the cooking crew had left to cook breakfast. I finally managed out of my sleeping back and out into the fresh morning. Man was it pretty. All around us were mountains covered in snow. The ground around us was covered in snow as well and it was strange to be amongst the snow when at home it was summer. I did not recognize at all where we were located but I was glad to have at least caught up on some sleep. Last night the sleeping arrangements had been as follows: in one 5 person tent was Lily, Bree, Sara, myself, and Nick (we were in their tent because we didn’t have enough tents to completely separate boys from girls). The second had the 5 other boys, Han, Prosper, Evan, Danny, and Gabe. Everyone seemed to be a little if not a lot more cheerful and I was certainly feeling the same. The hike yesterday had not been easy. Probably one of the most difficult and longest hike I have ever done before. It was now invigorating to say “we did it!!”. I couldn’t help but feel bad for everyone else because they all put up with my complaining and frustrations the night before. It was now, after the fact that I could proudly say “I did it!”. We had a very filling breakfast of an omelet, fruit salad, and more “Quakor”. We wanted to be sure to leave earlier than the day before to not be forced into another “find the camp in the dark” walk. We set the groups again this time, my group was the “Eyes” group with Prosper leading us, the task of cooking was the job of Breeds group, and the “Eyes” group from yesterday was now the Leave No Trace group. After the groups were assigned, we looked at how much we had done yesterday. Roughly, we had gone over 24 kilometers and higher than the tallest mountain in the Continental US. What we also found out from Daniel and Yuri is that most people do the trek we did yesterday over a 2 day span. We could not believe that we did what most people do in 2 days in only 1!! It really gave us all a sense of accomplishment. After packing up we made our plan for the day.

Our goal was to get to Laguna Ausangatecocha. From the map, it did not look that far at all but we did not want to get our hopes up. Daniel assured us that it was much shorter than yesterday and we should get there before dark. Prosper, our leader, decided that we should start right away just to be sure. For the most part, the first leg of the journey was flat, but Lily was hurting. She was out of breath and coughing. We knew how much Lily pushes herself and we certainly did not want her to do this if she had altitude sickness. It was close to lunch when we talked to Lily and what we were going to do. The group as well as the leaders thought the best decision for her and the entire group was to get a horse for her. We could still see the group of animals ahead of us so Daniel rushed ahead to grab a horse. It was not that Lily was unfit to do the hike she was just like everyone else, having one of those days. As soon as Lily got on the horse, I think a lot of us got reenergized. We decided that Lily would not stick with the group but instead move on ahead and meet us at the high pass. However, our first hill to start getting towards that high pass was very steep. It took us a good 15-20 minutes just to get up it. We were all determined to keep pushing. I was feeling tired but I still had the energy to move forward. It wasn’t until after close to an hour that I started to break down physically. I just couldn’t get up the steep parts. Kylee was nice enough to help me because she was setting a slower, baby step like pace and I was more than happy to follow her. It was different being in the back of the group. I am so used to always forging ahead and being the first one to discover something. This was difficult for me because whenever I looked ahead of our little train, the group always seemed to be so far ahead. I found that if I just stared at my feet and kept stepping, it was a lot easier than looking up to see where our goal was. When we finally reached the top of the pass, everyone congratulated me. I felt really good inside and was so glad to be with such a great group of people. However, the giant hill we just climbed over was not the high pass. Further on, we could see the lip of the ridge where the high pass really was. We decided since it was close to 1:30 that we take our lunch break. It was amazing to see all these snowcapped peaks and mountains around us. The wind was blowing pretty hard to we all put on some more layers. I made sure to pack my raingear this time just in case we should have another hail storm.

After lunch, we pushed on to the high pass. We knew that’s where Lily was going to meet us and it didn’t seem very difficult to get there. We had to cut across the mountain a long a flat trail that ran parallel to the side of the mountain we were on. It was a very flat walk, but it took awhile to finally get to the high pass. Boy, were we pumped. This high pass put us at over 17,000 feet!! We took another break to take pictures. Got some cool pictures of myself jumping in mid-air and then we headed on. We finally reached the high pass and Lily was waiting patiently and with much more energy than she had on the bottom. We could tell right away that she was feeling much better. I think we were all glad for that. From the map, it was supposed to be all down hill from there and it was which was really nice. We could see the lake where our camp was all the way from the pass and it didn’t take long to get really close. It was pretty steep and rocky but it was much shorter than the first leg of going up the extremely tall high pass. I accidentally led the group over a steeper ledge of rocks which I thought would get us to camp faster but it turned out to be just a waste of time. Once above the rocks, it was a straight drop to the bottom so we had to continue on over the rocks to camp. It was very clear how easy it would have been to have just stayed on the flat grass and easily walk into camp. I just had to make it a little more difficult for everyone . . . a little extra challenge is sometimes nice. Camp was pretty much already set up for us which was nice and it was right next to the Ausangate mountain side. It was nice to know that we had just completed more than half of what we would be doing during the next 2 days. Unfortunately, a little later in the day, Evan, who had remained disease free for the entire trip so far, threw up. I didn’t personally witness it but hearing it from the rest of the group made it sound pretty bad. He slept in one of the tents for pretty much the rest of the day. That night, we had a delicious dinner thanks to the food crew. Evan was still in the tent and not too long after Evan had gotten sick, Danny had come down with something too. Danny was expressing his discomfort but his stature and very talkative manner made it seem like he was OK.

Later that night, we had a group meeting inside my tent. I must say, I was pretty wiped and wanted it to be short and sweet. It was a little cramped but considering Danny and Evan both were not there, it was fine. We mostly talked about the day and how we addressed the Lily situation that day with the horse. The language barrier made it difficult to understand what Ferr´s point was regarding Lily but essentially it was this. He and the rest of the group had resorted to using an emergency horse for Lily and he wanted to know whether that was absolutely necessary. Everyone was confused and little upset because Ferr had made it seem like we shouldn’t have put Lily on the horse but for the entire group and Lily, I firmly believe it was the best decision. Besides, once we met up with her on top of the high pass, she walked herself down and didn’t even use the horse. Although, it did bring up a very good point that Ellie made a little more clear. Would it have been better for Lily to have been miserable but gained and learned something great from the experience instead of taking the easy and most logical way of helping someone in need? In this situation I still believe that Lily needed to get on that horse, but in other situations similar to this one, do we always need to choose the solution that is fastest and easiest? What would we experience/learn that would be different from the easy path? It is a very good question and I hope to explore these different options when I come back home. Once everyone dispersed, I fell dead asleep and I did not wake up until it was time to make breakfast the next morning.

All the groups were now given the role that they had not yet been assigned. Sadly, Evan was still feeling badly and so was Danny. The only person left from their group was Sara. We knew the only thing to do for Evan was to put him on a horse. Kylee went with him so that they could both travel with the rest of the animals and reach camp and if need be, a nearby town or hospital (but only if it came to that). Han was made the leader of the day. We knew we needed to go uphill right away but Han thought it would be easier to go around and stay low. I voiced concern when the animals started trekking up the hill while Han was leading us low. He realized right away his mistake and we hiked upward. I must say, after trekking for 2 days already, I seemed to have a much easier time going uphill. I was really proud of myself. We hiked for quite a long time and we had to drastically change directions only once. All in all, it was a long day but we spaced it very well thanks to Han. At one point however, it started to hail. I learned my lesson on Day 1 of this trek to always have my rain gear on me and I was very glad to have it. It did give us a little scare as we were pretty high up in the mountains and it was thundering slightly. Thankfully, we all made it through safely. We reached our camp early to mid afternoon and was pleased to find Kylee and Evan there and well. It was a really pretty camp we had but it did not get much sunlight. It wasn’t even close to sunset yet and we had relatively little sunlight compared to what we had before. We had hiked a pretty long ways but by no means was it the toughest day we encountered during the trek. We had another delicious dinner in part to my cooking group and hungry stomachs. We met in our tent again but I must say, for some reason, Bree and I were extremely claustrophobic. I actually fell dead asleep and when I awoke to find everyone exiting our tent, they just couldn’t get out fast enough. I didn’t sleep as well as I had previously that night, but I was looking forward to our last day.

Evan was back to his normal self and we all knew the goal of the day, to finish this trek. The sun rise was extremely pretty and I took several pictures of the mountains in the morning. I know this has been a really long post so I want to end this before you all fall asleep. It was so freaking cold that morning and the night before left me shivering. I finally was able to pull out my down jacket which I had been bragging about for some time and I was pleased to find that it kept me very warm. Evan, the leader of the day, lead us towards our first trail of the morning but sadly did not see the sheet of ice that was covering a deep hole. As he stepped on it, he sunk through the ice into the very frigid looking water. Surprisingly however, he had pulled his foot out fast enough and even though he went up to his waste with his left leg completely submerged, he did not get wet. Very lucky I think. We continued on. It was a very bitter sweet day. We knew it was a very flat and easy way to go, but it was also sad because we would be losing Ferr the next day as he would be leaving for India. We took our last dozen photos and hiked for a long time through very open land until we hit the major “highway” to Tinki. It took us over 2 hours from the highway to finally make it to Tinki and boy were we ready. I think everyone sighed a giant sigh of relief when we dropped off our backpacks at the hostel. We all went back to the Pollería (even though it didn’t have chicken that day) because it was Sunday and on Sunday . . . they had chicken! It was very delicious. The trek was definitely a great learning experience for me, but I was very sad to lose such a great leader and mentor as Ferr. His English was very good considering how little time he had been speaking the language and never once was a really confused on his meaning about anything.

One thing I learned from this trek was to not always take the easy way out of things. Often times I find myself at home and take the easiest route to get to or get what I want. But often times, this is not always the best course of action. One can learn far more from the difficulties and hardships one faces through the not so easy route. I think it is most eloquently stated with this line from Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” I will end this post here as it is EXTREMELY long. Hope you enjoyed it because it was very hard remembering all this and sticking through it to the very end. We will all be home in less than 4 days!! I must say I am thrilled but also greatly saddened. I have read Riley’s reflection post and I found it extremely moving. If you have not read it please go to the 4-week Perú Yak Yak and read it. I love you mom. I’ll be home before you know it. BTW. . . . Everyone knows you by your first name. If you talk to people on Facebook you’ll understand.

hugs and kisses

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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The Long Overdue and Lengthy Ausangate Trek

AP Orlebeke,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

A beginning note: I started this post as soon as we ended the Ausangate trek, but was unable to finish until today, August 4th, due to other activities of both myself and the group. There is a lot of detail but I really wanted to flush out the entire experience so you would be able […]

Posted On

08/4/07

Author

AP Orlebeke

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A poem I wrote . . .

I am Perú

I am the luscious green of the Amazon; mysterious and untamed

I am the Inca; leaving an eternal footprint on Peruvian history and culture

I am the Coca leaf; shrouded in controversey yet common place for its medicinal properties

I am the warm setting sun, painting the sky a deep, passionate red as it casts long shadows down high mountain faces

I am the smell of cooking meat as a street vendor grills skywers for passing tourists

I am the snow-covered peaks of the Andes, reaching forever upwards toward the open blue sky

I am the happiness of children as they dance to the beat of the drum

I am the rush of water from the Madre de Dios river

I am the rustle and shrieks of monkeys in high tree tops

I am the smile of a child content solely from the presence of a strange traveler

I am the wind as it washes across the Sacred Valley

I am the cheering of a crowd during a street parade

I am the voices of protestors calling for change so their children may have better educational opportunities

I am the hum of a taxi´s engine whizzing down narrow streets

I am the silence of those who have been and who are yet to be

I am the splash of water against a fisherman´s boat in Lake Titicaca

I am the uncertainty of the miner who works tirelessly for a few grams of gold so he may continue living

I am the hope of a better, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly world

I am Perú

AP Orlebeke

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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I am Perú

AP Orlebeke,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

A poem I wrote . . . I am Perú I am the luscious green of the Amazon; mysterious and untamed I am the Inca; leaving an eternal footprint on Peruvian history and culture I am the Coca leaf; shrouded in controversey yet common place for its medicinal properties I am the warm setting sun, […]

Posted On

07/16/07

Author

AP Orlebeke

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From the Amazon, to the belly button of the universe (Cuzco), to the Sacred Valley, to Lake Titicaca. It’s truly amazing how thirteen of us came together to make this extrordinary journey unfold. Everyday full of energy, lessons, challenges, surprises, and cultural reflection.

I had an hour to myself today to sit lake side and take in where we are…..La Isla de Anapia. This place is special and magical. On one side you have the snowcapped mountains of Peru and the other, Bolivia. We are at about 13,000 Ft. at one of the highest lakes in the world. Surrounded by crops of potatoes (over 2,000 species in Peru), corn, wheat, sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, and the tranquility of silence.

We are connecting with an Aymaran community that speaks Aymara (Spanish second Language). The feeling of true connection comes in random moments. So much can be communicated with no words at all. We had a talk about music on the island and were enchanted by several guitarists. Dancing in a circle hand in hand, two people in the circle at a time, laughing, and smiling. It was a moment of complete human connection regardless of our clothes, age, culture, origin, language, religion, and much much more. For me personally, it was a beautiful reflection and feeling of what Dragon’s is all about. Connecting, learning, opening, accepting, and creating all that we have the potential to do and be in the world.

Is globalization good or bad? How does it exploit certain people of the world? I was impressed with the fact that people here used to live until 120 yrs. Old. Now the average is 70 yrs. You won’t find much MSG, preservatives, pills, buses, fast food, pollution, street lights, banks, internet, computers, etc. in this unique island.

Some questions to ponder…. What impact does Dragons as a group of foreigners make on the island of Anapia? Can the community preserve their culture and continue to further connect with the “modern” world? How did we see and experience the people of Anapia? How did they experience and see us?

Much peace and love from the field. ☺

Kylita

[post_title] => La Bonita Isla.... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => la-bonita-isla [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-07-15 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55747 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 458 [name] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2007 [slug] => peru-6-week-summer-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 458 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 260 [count] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 32.1 [cat_ID] => 458 [category_count] => 13 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2007 [category_nicename] => peru-6-week-summer-2007 [category_parent] => 260 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2007/peru-6-week-summer-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2007 )

Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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La Bonita Isla….

Kylee Allen,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

From the Amazon, to the belly button of the universe (Cuzco), to the Sacred Valley, to Lake Titicaca. It’s truly amazing how thirteen of us came together to make this extrordinary journey unfold. Everyday full of energy, lessons, challenges, surprises, and cultural reflection. I had an hour to myself today to sit lake side and […]

Posted On

07/15/07

Author

Kylee Allen

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Tonight we board a sleeper bus that will take us down to Lake Titicaca. We spend the next five days living with local families on the remote island of Anapia, a sharp contrast to the heavily toured ruins of Mach Picchu.

Three days ago we began to hand the reins to our students, assigning roles of the day and asking the students to find our transport, choose our restaurants, set the hiking pace, and plan the flow of our days. We debrief the roles and group functioning the following morning, providing a space for critical and positive feedback and self reflection.What wonderful days we´ve had! From riding in the back of a truck under a clear starry night to dips in hot springs, to a 3:45 wake up call to begin the walk up to Machu Picchu, the motivation, energy, and care of our team inspires me!

Our week living with families will provide a respite from the group life and our first chance to really engage with Peruvian people. The island of Anapia, near the Bolivian border, is home to an indigenous Aymara community. Last year the Dragons program spent two nights with families and raved about their experience. We´ve communicated with a local leader to set up talks about globalization and the TLC, teach English classes to local kids, and learn farming techniques.

We will most likely be out of touch until the 15th when we will leave Anapia and head back to the mainland.

Saludos, sonrisas, y mucho carino desde Cuzco!

Ellie, Kylee, and Fer

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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On to Lake Titicaca…

Ellie, Kylee, and Fer,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

Tonight we board a sleeper bus that will take us down to Lake Titicaca. We spend the next five days living with local families on the remote island of Anapia, a sharp contrast to the heavily toured ruins of Mach Picchu. Three days ago we began to hand the reins to our students, assigning roles […]

Posted On

07/9/07

Author

Ellie, Kylee, and Fer

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As of July 7th, Machu Picchu was announced as one of the NEW 7 Wonders of the World!! It was so exciting to be one of the first groups of people at the site after this announcement. We woke up extremely early (4 in the morning to be exact) and hiked up the trail to Machu Picchu. The hike alone took close to an hour but it was EXTREMELY steep. I had to stop at least 5 times to rest and catch my breath. But once we finally got there, it was so worth it. Clouds covered the sky, but it gave the site a much more ancient look to it. It was amazing to think that this was all made in under 100 years!! I was so exhausted as I got little sleep and was running on little food from breakfast. All in all it was an amazing thrill to be at the top of this mountain. Everywhere you looked there were beautifully covered mountains in a thick green and a few clouds covering the tops of peaks. I miss home but it is amazing here! I hope to catch some ZZ's really soon. I hope everyone at home is healthy and please look at some more pictures I have posted! Here are the links . . .

http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2029607&l=2adbe&id=1155512175

http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2029675&l=5435e&id=1155512175

http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2029733&l=67732&id=1155512175

ENJOY!

The very tired but enthusiastic,

APps love you mom

[post_title] => Today in history . . . [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => today-in-history [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-07-08 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55781 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 458 [name] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2007 [slug] => peru-6-week-summer-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 458 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 260 [count] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 32.1 [cat_ID] => 458 [category_count] => 13 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2007 [category_nicename] => peru-6-week-summer-2007 [category_parent] => 260 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2007/peru-6-week-summer-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2007 )

Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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Today in history . . .

Machu Picchu (?),Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

Description

As of July 7th, Machu Picchu was announced as one of the NEW 7 Wonders of the World!! It was so exciting to be one of the first groups of people at the site after this announcement. We woke up extremely early (4 in the morning to be exact) and hiked up the trail to […]

Posted On

07/8/07

Author

Machu Picchu (?)

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-07-03 00:00:00
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    [post_content] =>   

Hello All,

I had an awesome exprience shadowing one of the botanists here at CICRA. I went with Marjorie (Joey passed me off to her), a research assistant from Michigan, deep into the most rugged parts of the Los Amigos jungle in to shadow one of her monthly surveys. Once a month Marjorie has to walk her string of about 100-125 Inga plants that are sporadicly tagged throughout the trails. Inga's are a plant that have developed extra-floral nectaries that secrete a sweet juice that attract ants. These ants then protect the leaves of the Inga from harmful herbivores (i.e. caterpillars or stink beetles) by swarming and consuming them. This symbiotic relationship is simple and for the most part very effective. During our hike in the newly blazed Trocha(trail) 23 that cuts through the center of the reserve. We carried paper sheets that carroud information of the various Inga being studied, telling us how far from the station the plants were, on which side of the trial the were on, how far of the trail they were, and their species number which correlated to the number on the pink tag wrapped around every plant. We recorded whether there were new leaves from June, if any baby leaves had sprouted for July, and whether any buds had formed. If there were leaves from June we had to record the percentage of each leaf that was still healthy and had not been eaten. It wasn't too tedious because the Inga plants have large complex leaves and only sprout or 'flush' 4-5 new leaves per month on average. Not only did I learn a lot and get really hot and sweaty on the trip but we experienced and array of rare animals that would have been scared away had I traveled with a large group. In the beginning of the walk we came face to face with a pack of around 30 bearded Titi monkeys how went right over our heads only about 10 feet away. This pack was followed by about 5 or 6 howler monkeys that kept to themselves high in the tree tops. Later towards the tail end of trying to survive the beating that trail 23 handed us we encountered a pack of close to 8 black spider monkeys. These are very rare to see and were carrying two newborns, causing the males to be extremely territorial and alarmingly aggressive. After they shaked branches at us and started descending down the trunks of the trees we understood that they meant business and we continued on. It really was an awesome experience and I continued to learn more about plants, specifically medicinal ones, today on our visit to the remote town of Boca Amigos. I'll save that day for another Yak Yak, because its dinner time and soup's up!

Spirits are soaring and everyone is having an amazing time!

I hope all is well with everyone,

Evan

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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Evan,Peru 6-week, Summer 2007

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Hello All, I had an awesome exprience shadowing one of the botanists here at CICRA. I went with Marjorie (Joey passed me off to her), a research assistant from Michigan, deep into the most rugged parts of the Los Amigos jungle in to shadow one of her monthly surveys. Once a month Marjorie has to […]

Posted On

07/3/07

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Evan

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