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There is something about the mountains.Maybe it is their immense size and awesome vantage point. Perhaps it is there surreal beauty. Or, it is the fact the mountains means something different to each individual person.

As we experience Peru and its multivaried landscape, the most captivating image so far has been mountains. The mountains take a different form in the Andean cultures as they are not mere landmasses, but sacred entities in themselves. As we have just finished hiking the sacred Apu Ausangate, my mind keeps going back to this mountain ridge that we were on. We were over 3 miles high and at the intersection separating Ausangate from the rest of the sacred valley. It seemed so peaceful as I looked down upon the mountain lakes with water as blue as the Caribbean, the snow covered mountain ranges dotting the landscape, and the mammoth Ausangate staring down upon us. Despite the heavy mountain winds that forced me to put on another layer, the ridge just seemed so peaceful. The mountain seemed so majestic.

One could askevery person in the group what they thought of the ridge or any aspect of our trek, no answer would ever be the same. The mountains themselves would have a different account entirely as well.

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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Sacred Mountains

Gregory Kravit,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

There is something about the mountains.Maybe it is their immense size and awesome vantage point. Perhaps it is there surreal beauty. Or, it is the fact the mountains means something different to each individual person. As we experience Peru and its multivaried landscape, the most captivating image so far has been mountains. The mountains take […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Gregory Kravit

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    [post_content] => We´re back in Ocongate after our trek around Apu Ausangate. We had a really good time. We hiked among the alpacas and visited several beautiful turquoise lakes. The entire time we had stunning views of Ausangate from different angles. We stayed a full day in our camp and I attempted to start a weaving for Hana,which was a fun adventure that remains in progress. That night it snowed, and we awoke to a snowball fight between the guys that lasted all morning. We hiked over a 5000 meter pass and were rewarded with the sight of a new beautiful snowy peak (Ausangate´s daughter?). I find it so unbelievable that we can be on a 5000m pass and still be looking up at the mountain towering over us. It´s incredible how tall the peaks are. We stayed the night in a hostal and had a very enjoyable visit to the hot springs before hiking the last bit this morning. Tomorrow we head off to Q´eros and then we begin our student led time. We´ve decided on a 9 day trek that willend atMachu Picchu, and we´re all pretty excited! 
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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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Apu Ausangate

Katie Manduca,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

We´re back in Ocongate after our trek around Apu Ausangate. We had a really good time. We hiked among the alpacas and visited several beautiful turquoise lakes. The entire time we had stunning views of Ausangate from different angles. We stayed a full day in our camp and I attempted to start a weaving for […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Katie Manduca

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    [post_content] => this week has been very fun. we went on a treck to ausumgate for five days. it would have been nice to go around the mountanin but we were not able to because of time constraints. it also would have been nicer if we went a little faster.
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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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Peru six week

Tom Morley,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

this week has been very fun. we went on a treck to ausumgate for five days. it would have been nice to go around the mountanin but we were not able to because of time constraints. it also would have been nicer if we went a little faster.

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Tom Morley

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    [post_content] => 5 days in the Presence of Apu Ausungate

What an incredible 5 days it has been. Snow, rock, glaciers, ceremonies, tough trekking, group building, personal reflection and breathtaking vistas. Sometimes it´s hard to believe that only days have passed, not weeks.

On the morning of the 18th we loaded into the back of a camion (truck) with all our gear and enough energy to power us to the base of the mountain--David and Fabian (a good friend and Quechua-speaking guide from the Q´eros nation) on their pito flutes, Tawni on the pan pipes, and Crister, Miles, and Hana strumming on their Charangos (Andean stringed instruments). After leaving the town of Ocongate we had a ceremony involving the sacred coca leaf as a way of setting our intentions for our time in the mountains.
Both our music on the drive and the ceremony seemed to set the tone for the journey; our time was filled with beautiful vistas and fun moments, but also with profound times of group building and challenges while trekking around 5,000 meters.

A few beautiful moments from our trek:
Waking up to a dusting of snow two mornings ago and taking in the incredible silence that only new-fallen snow can bring--that is until the snowball fight ensued!

Sitting in a circle around a single candle flame describing the day´s route through maps and conversations. Also, hearing students´ voices through their Chatacqua (20 min for students to describe themselves in whatever way they feel) times--this involved stories, courageous questions, and even improvisational dance at 15,000 feet!

As a group, leadership roles have been self-defined and students find themselves leading the route for the day in consultation (in Spanish and Quechua) with the Arierros (horsemen), caring for the health of the group alongside Tawni and Crister, learning about the history and living legends of Apu (Sacred Mountain) Ausungate, and sometimes just being a friend when others are feeling down. Overall, it has been a pleasure to see the growth in each one of the students and see them work together in harsh and constantly changing environments.

For the next fives days we will trekking and learning in Nación Qeros where students will have the opportunity to deepen their Independent Study Projects through oral history interviews, weaving and arts lessons, and even through the traditional annual Saritipi corn harvest. It should be an incredible experience!

The students have decided to make the Choquequirao trek to Machu Pichu their student-led time for the last 8 days following our time in Nación Qeros. This trek will be led with the help of David, but the majority of the day-to-day decisions will be made by the students themselves! This trek will be very physically challenging with ascents and descents of over 3,000 feet on some days. Moreover, the story that the route tells of Incan and pre-Incan history is invaluable and will parallel the students´ own research on different periods in Peruvian history.

The next two weeks will involve much movement and learning, and as an instructor team, we can´t wait!

Sulpayki and Abrazos,

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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Five Days in the Presence of Apu Ausungate

Crister Brady,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

5 days in the Presence of Apu Ausungate What an incredible 5 days it has been. Snow, rock, glaciers, ceremonies, tough trekking, group building, personal reflection and breathtaking vistas. Sometimes it´s hard to believe that only days have passed, not weeks. On the morning of the 18th we loaded into the back of a camion […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Crister Brady

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the other day we emerged from our tents into a world covered in snow! it was amazing, i hadn´t seen snow since eighth grade and here it was, covering my tent in july! very exciting. later that day we climbed a 5000 meter pass..basically 5000 times the altitude at which i live. then we went to some hot springs for some much needed warm water/baths. after that trek and the next one we are starting tomorrow for another six days, we have decided to do the nine day choquequirao trek to machu picchu!

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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snow in july!!

gabriela schaps,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

the other day we emerged from our tents into a world covered in snow! it was amazing, i hadn´t seen snow since eighth grade and here it was, covering my tent in july! very exciting. later that day we climbed a 5000 meter pass..basically 5000 times the altitude at which i live. then we went […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

gabriela schaps

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For the past 5 days we have been under the shadow of the great sacred mountain Ausungate, or Apu Ausungate to the locals. It wasn´tentirely what I expected, but I wouldn´t have had it any other way. We had horses to carry our backpacks and a cook. However, this just gave us more time and energy to enjoy our surroundings. The first night we camped at the base of the mountain and observing its grandoise and the shrinking glacier that fed our water source. The region can be categorized by lots of llamas and alpacas grazing, the occasional mud house, and walls. Forged of stacked rocks, maybe a meter in height but kilometers in length. Each one extending past my range sight. We would encounter these walls at the most random places too. Where there was not a llama or person in sight; behind it might be Apu Ausungate, more hills, maybe some marsh that turns to lake in the summer, or the incredible backdrop of infinite snowcapped peaks blocking the horizon. Other than that there are two things about the scenery worth mentioning. The lakes and the vendors. The landscape was full of glacial lakes. Milky blue in color, icy in temperature, and random in placement. The second night we camped on a lake, it had trout hatcheries in the center. At random points during the trek we would suddenly look up and at our eye level would be the most pure and pristine lake imaginable. And at each site we camped at Peruvian women would sneakily set up their blankets full of belts, hats, and other handmade goods for sale.

Surrounding our campsites in valleys formed from glacial drift, were freezing rivers and endless boulder fields. One morning we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow on everything in sight, (followed by some epic snowball fights -- instructors vs. students). Just sitting around camp one could see 3 types of wildlife. Small birds who zipped sporadically along with the wind. Big birds such as eagles who always traveled in pairs. And Viscatcheys: curious animals who looked like a cross between a jackrabbit and a wolf. They prance around the rocks and are nearly impossible to detect due to their grey skin that blended in with the rocks.

On our second to last day we climbed about 1000 meters from our camp of 4000m to our group summit of 5000m. The way up was tiring and one could feel the scarcity of oxygen in the air. When not going through scree fields or directly up steeply graded hills, we were stopped enjoying the unreal lakes and animal tracks. Once we made it to the top, we all sat down and snacked it up. And at our peak of elevation of elevation, I enjoyed a Milky Way that had been stowed away in my bag since Cusco. Words cannot describe its rich and delicious awesomness.

Last night we stayed in a small town and spent some time in the natural hotsprings. Throughout this trek, we had the constant presence of the sacred mountain Ausungate. It never got old. From every single angle it was stunning and gorgeous. Everytime I layed eyes upon it I was struck with a sense of awe. The pictures on my camera do not do it justice. In all honesty, this mountain made the trek as unbelievable as it was.

Tomorrow we are off to trek in the Qúeros region for 6 days. I do not know what is in store for us but I do know that our group will be up to whatever challenge we face, and on a personal level, my overall level of excitement could not be higher

[post_title] => The Ultimate Candy Bar [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-ultimate-candy-bar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2009-07-22 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=50676 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 421 [name] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2009 [slug] => peru-6-week-summer-2009 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 421 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 249 [count] => 58 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 25.1 [cat_ID] => 421 [category_count] => 58 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2009 [category_nicename] => peru-6-week-summer-2009 [category_parent] => 249 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2009/peru-6-week-summer-2009/ ) ) [category_links] => Peru 6-week, Summer 2009 )

Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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The Ultimate Candy Bar

Grady Lenkin,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

For the past 5 days we have been under the shadow of the great sacred mountain Ausungate, or Apu Ausungate to the locals. It wasn´tentirely what I expected, but I wouldn´t have had it any other way. We had horses to carry our backpacks and a cook. However, this just gave us more time and […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Grady Lenkin

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just a small window into our latest world:

morning touching a light dusting of snow outside our tent

the eerily beautiful blue of the glacial lakes

dragons in the hot springs

ausangate ever-looming, its presence prominent in both the dark and light

slightglimpses of vizcacha, the elusiverabbit-coyote hybrid

sunburned noses

endless bowls of soup soup soup

danny chasing the alpacas ("I TOUCHED ONE!")

lunch atop an andean perch

miles dropkicking the cherries

socks and sandals, long underwear and shorts

unbelievably clear mountain streams

mountain sun, mountain sky

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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words on images on ausangate

kate sinnott,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

just a small window into our latest world: morning touching a light dusting of snow outside our tent the eerily beautiful blue of the glacial lakes dragons in the hot springs ausangate ever-looming, its presence prominent in both the dark and light slightglimpses of vizcacha, the elusiverabbit-coyote hybrid sunburned noses endless bowls of soup soup […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

kate sinnott

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Hola a todo!

We have descended now from the magical hills of Parque de la Papa above the
ancient Incan hub of Pisac and the Sacred Valley, where we spent five days
in the communities of Amaru and Paru Paru. Our days filled with partaking
in the daily life of families through homestays, learning Quechua (and using
Spanish as a foundation), visiting enchanted lakes, and learning from the
great knowledge these communities have of their land, weaving, medicinal
plants, high alpine agriculture & animal husbandry, and their Andean
cosmology.

Several morning hikes brought us to the high lagunas – *Ccocha* for lakes in
Quechua – where our local friends spoke of the thick fog and threatening
storms that ensues any time the lakes are not properly honored. Personal
stories of highly emotioned reactions from the lake followed, as our local
colleagues described personal encounters. We were shown the rock outcrop
where a beautiful woman is said to appear at times – a young maiden who had
fallen in love with the son of Apu Ausungate – but was admonished by her
father. Another granite-like intrusion to the volcanic pumice rock base of
the area told of a highly respected villager whose body had turned to stone
after he passed, and all pay tribute to his life as they pass by. Narrow
bands of the white stone lay evidence to the strips of his coffin.

We visited the local Apu, or great mountain being, Yanapani, as well as the
region’s pantheon of Apus on an early morning peak ascent. In a vast full
horizon expanse, we could see Saucantay, Picuturay, Ausungate and up to five
others of the largest and most sacred mountains of the region. Acquainting
ourselves with the spongy hillocks of high Andean alpine where miniature
lilies and irises grow, frolicking with sassy long-eyelashed llamas and
attitude-animated alpacas, and conversing with the tendrils of clouds in the
skies that hang oh-so-close now, we hve greeted our new environment with
glee, wonder and curiosity.

Each has had the opportunity to try his or her hand at new skills:

· Tom and Danny have been exploring the arts of fire by friction –
harvesting bow drill parts and shaping their kits to create coals. The
group had entered a clay oven – *horno* – competition of three teams upon
arrival in Paru Paru and cooked their lunch potatoes in the hot earth of
these structures. Tom and Greg played with structures of eucalyptus
saplings to create the greatest internal heat for the ovens.

· Katie, Gaby, and Hana are exploring the world of *tejidos*,
intricately woven blankets, ponchos, shawls, belts, hats and skirts of the
region. Each weaving exhibits symbols of llamas, condors, femur bones,
frogs, pumas, alpaca corrals, waves and wind – accompanied by stories and
legends of the region. These ladies are learning this art with surprising
speed and artistry.

· Miles has already begun writing new songs on the *charango*,
accompanied by the elder *maestros* of the village who have played the *
flauta* (flute) and *tambor* (drum) at each turn – on our welcome to Paru
Paru, for the high stakes soccer game and as they dressed up in local dress
for a fiesta. Danny has also delighted the group in his humorous
self-scripted songs.

· Ben, Todd, Thomas, Kate and Grady began learning medicinal plants
identification and processing as they harvested some cedar bows and created
incense bundles for ceremonies & respiratory relaxants, initiated the
process for lip balms and recovered some of the essential oils. Rosaria and
several of the women in the Medicinal Plants guild recounted the extensive
uses of their primary 43 medicinal plants of the region, including muna (
type of mint), manzanilla (chamomile), caluendula, romero, ruta and the
newly introduced eucalyptus.

· Greg has begun collecting histories of the region and accounts of
economic dynamics.

· Hana is researching the role coca plays in each of the communities
we visit, as well as stunning all in her grace and agility on the soccer
field (“Do you play for your country?” she was asked by a local).

The time in Parque de la Papa provided opportunity to rest, explore, dig
deeper into the interests of all, partake in a way of life, culture and
relationship to the land these six communities have committed to preserve –
an anomaly in today’s global world with pressures to “modernize” and take on
more North American or European cultures. Ricardo, one of the Parque
managers spoke of his travels to Mali, India, other regions of South America
and the Lakota communities of North America in collaboration to support
similar visions and projects for those communities. As a demonstration and
cultivation site for over 1200 types of potato (from the approximate 4000
types in the world) to the local administration with little intervention by
Peruvian state administration, Parque de la Papa has gained quite a
world-renowned reputation. Yet despite their consistent exposure, the
authenticity of the people was unmistakable, and their connection to
community and the land, and their eagerness to share their lives touched us
daily, providing lessons for us to bring home.

We move into our next phase with a change in our team and our itinerary. It
has proven best for Fer to take his departure from the group and begin his
time in India a week and a half early. We warmly welcome David Nuñoz del
Prado, a Peruvian guide and man of the jungle and mountains with two
beautiful young daughters and wife in Cuzco. He guided us with such beauty,
heart and grace in the Amazon – into the communities he had developed
relationships for years. He hs worked with more than eight Dragons courses,
with extensive experience throughout the Andes and lush lowlands, great
skill in working with local communities and gifts in group dynamics. The
group is very excited to have him join us again.

*Our itinerary change has us leave for Ausungate first, so as to prepare our
time more fully in Q’eros. We will be in Ausungate July 17 – 22, and Q’eros
July 22 – 28.*

We are traveling with one of our host fathers from the village of Paru Paru
in Parque de la Papa as our cook to partake in learning more about preparing
and enjoying local tastes. Fabian, one of the respected Q’eros community
members of Kiko will also be joining us and accompanying us into Q’eros
Nacion.

We circumambulate the Apu Ausungate, one of the most revered mountains of
the region, in pilgrimage, moving around its base for five days – deepening
our knowledge of the philosophy, ecology and culture of all that lies within
its vista.

We then make our way for five days in Nacion Q’eros – communities with an
archipelago of land from the Andes and the Amazon – and so, yes! By visiting
this area and the community of Kiko, we will be able to move through their
lands, from some of the highest mountains, with our blessing from Ausungate,
back to the jungle! We hope to catch fish from the rivers with the
community, assist in their maize crop and learn about their unique way of
life and connection to such a diverse range of ecosystems in their lands.

Thanks again for following our journey! We hope your days are enriched with
peace, health, adventure and curiosity!

Abrazos imensos a todo!

Peru 6 Instructors

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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Itinerary and Update

Instructor Team,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

Hola a todo!We have descended now from the magical hills of Parque de la Papa above theancient Incan hub of Pisac and the Sacred Valley, where we spent five daysin the communities of Amaru and Paru Paru. Our days filled with partakingin the daily life of families through homestays, learning Quechua (and usingSpanish as a […]

Posted On

07/17/09

Author

Instructor Team

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goings-on from a few days ago in paru paru in the potato park:

i awake with my sleeping back tight around my face, warm beneath my countless layers. the light shines dimly through the cracks in the door, and i hear a harmony of roosters crowing combined with the shrieks of my four year old host brother. pulling our hiking boots, gabriela and i make the walk to the kitchen, in awe of the thick frost that has fallen outside our little room. it sparkles in the fierce mountain sunlight.

we sit on the bench in the kitchen as our mother fuels the fire by blowing into it with a metal tube. we slurp mate as our seven-year-old sister carolina fetchs more water to quench our thirst. our mother does not let us help- she learned not to the first day when we spent four times longer peeling potatoes than she did.

after feasting, we begin the walk to a nearby lake, kinsa ccocha. on the shores, we meet up with the rest of the group with hugs ang laughter. we haven´t been together for over eight hours, and it feels strange.

we walk, up, up. slowed by sheep in the path, we stop to hear stories surrounding the lake and the apus that are towering above us. we walk, and the rocky path suddenly opens into a field. it is a time for solo thoughts, and i sit by the stream with my fingers in the clear, cool mountain water and i think about home and i think about here. i think about the peruvian sun and the hair in my face and the cadence of quechua.

we walk back, we talk, we laugh, we take pictures. we feast on alpaca meat, papas, and corn pudding.

some time later, we meet for a rousing game of soccer: gringos vs. peruvians. there is a lot of laughter, a lot of laboured breathing in the thin air. my mother appears to dress us in some of her clothing- fiesta time!

we dance, feeling slightly ridiculous yet ridiculously happy.

as the sun sets over the mountains, i see where i am. i see the patterns of the clothes i am wearing and the faces of my companions. i feel my little brothers hand in mine, warm. i hear the flute and the drum and i tap my feet on the ground.

the music fades.

i walk back to my little room and pull my sleeping bag tight around my face, warm beneath my countless layers.

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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a morning in paru paru

Kate Sinnott,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

goings-on from a few days ago in paru paru in the potato park: i awake with my sleeping back tight around my face, warm beneath my countless layers. the light shines dimly through the cracks in the door, and i hear a harmony of roosters crowing combined with the shrieks of my four year old […]

Posted On

07/17/09

Author

Kate Sinnott

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Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

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In the Andes

Katie Manduca,Peru 6-week, Summer 2009

Description

We´re back in Pisac after a lot of fun during our homestays in Parque de la Papa. We met lots of interesting people, learned some Quechua, played soccer, and learned some dances while wearing the traditional clothes. It was a really fun and unique opportunity. My personal favorites were learning some of the basics of […]

Posted On

07/16/09

Author

Katie Manduca

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