On Monday, we shared a little about what makes Caroline from "So She Did" tick, but that only scratches the surface on some of the amazing adventures she's had.
"I love to travel," she proudly shares. In fact, she loves it so much that one of the reasons she went to college was to find opportunities to explore the big, wide, world. And explore she did, as she landed an opportunity to study abroad in Argentina... Which led her to want to see the sights Peru too.
When it came time for her and her husband to start picking vacation destinations, she was not at all indecisive. "My husband and I have an agreement to alternate choosing our destinations, but of course he’s a sweetheart (and I was a bit pushy) so I got first pick!" And so, Peru it was (and her husband is a total champ, btw).
During their two incredible weeks surrounded by the wonders of Peru, they challenged themselves to their limits by taking on some of the wildest, most physically demanding excursions there are, all in the name of fun... Including a grueling, but awe-inspiring, four-day journey along the Incan trail.
"Our hike was explained to us as 4 days of easy, grueling, astonishing, and the culmination," she says. Day one she says was the "easy setup" (!) of walking 15k at a low elevation. But day two, things got serious with a 12k hike and an elevation of 13,776 feet, capped off with a stop at the highest point, called Dead Woman's Pass. Supposedly it's named because the vista looks like a woman laid to rest, but Caroline observes "I think it was because I was going to die on my way up there." Um, who can blame her?
Day three she describes the landscapes and views as some of the most breathtaking sights she'd ever witnessed in her life. After spending the night in a cloud forest, she hiked along the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, stopped at two scenic waypoints (one of which was so pretty she almost refused to leave), and arrived at the famous Inti Pata just in time for sunset.
Finally, on day four, the woke up early and nearly sprinted the final 5k to Machu Picchu... Only to find that the famous Sun Gate should have been renamed "Cloud Gate." "We couldn’t see anything!" she said. Undeterred, they finished their hike and were duly rewarded for all their efforts. As the day marched on along with them, the sun burned off the clouds and left behind views too beautiful to describe . Caroline wistfully recalls, "it was beyond incredible. All the photos will never do it justice. It is so much larger in real life than I thought it would be."
The moment wasn't just about gorgeous views and physical challenges, however. Caroline enjoyed a sense of reverence for all she'd seen and done, and it was a revelation that made the whole journey truly meaningful. "Walking the Incan Trail there, knowing it was the way the Incan people would take, and that they hid the trail to protect this sacred site is really awesome to think about. I loved touching the walls and knowing people literally slaved to find rocks or make rocks that fit so perfectly together that they’ve withstood earthquakes, downpours, wind, and, in general, the test of time."
Caroline was so moved by her whole experience that strongly believes people should get out there and see the sights for themselves. "Seriously, if anyone has questions about planning their Incan Trail hike – they can even email me at firstname.lastname@example.org because I need to tell them to do it!" And with such gorgeous pictures, a fascinating story, and a sense of empowerment that comes with truly pushing yourself to the limit, I can see why!
Through it all, there was one major accomplishment that she was able to check off of her list along her journey that made me chuckle... And I bet you could never guess what it was...
"My #1 goal for the trip was to touch a llama." Yup, that's right. All the things she saw, all the trips she took, all the adventures to be had in Peru, she wanted to touch a llama. And I'm thrilled to report, she got her wish. "I also met my new best friend, a llama, (at Inti Pata)," Caroline proudly brags. "So, goal achieved!" Woo-hoo for hitting your goals!
For more about her trip through the Incan Trail, as well as some gorgeous pictures, and some info about some other trips she took during her vacation, be sure to head to her blog "So She Did" and check out her Instagram for even more breathtaking pictures from her amazing journey through Peru.
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