Leaving the Andes

Saying goodbye to a trip is always hard. Over four months later I am still writing about Bolivia and today is the very last post. Life has been so busy that it all feels sometimes like a blur. That is what has been so rewarding about having this blog. It has been a way to remember special moments in time and relive that experience through pictures and words.

As we left the Condoriri Valley after two wonderful successful hikes, I felt a sense of pride. I made it and wasn’t so sure I would given a hip injury that had kept me from running. But I did make it and I felt great, physically and mentally. Even more important is I made it with my dad.

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Packing up our gear

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Packing up the mules

We set off following the short hour and a half trail we arrived on just three days before. Unfortunately my stomach finally caught up with eating at 15,500 feet and I was sick making the walk back particularly grueling. But I focused on the spectacular views and tried to ignore the discomfort.

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

My favorite view of all. The morning reflection.

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. -Robert Frost

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

As we meandered down the rocky slopes and near the end of our hike, I reflected on what an amazing journey life is. The path is unknown and it is up to you to decide which one to take.

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley Bolivia

Condoriri Valley Bolivia

Condoriri Valley BoliviaCondoriri Valley Bolivia

Condoriri Valley BoliviaCondoriri Valley Bolivia

I also made a decision. After 15 years of dreaming about climbing Kilimanjaro, I finally am going to do it. And I am going to do it for a cause to help women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am thrilled to be part of an international team of men and women climbing Kilimanjaro this July on behalf of Solar Sister where we will climb to new heights by raising money to improve the lives of women and girls. Much more will be coming soon on my next adventure. Stay Tuned…


This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur. To read more entries, click here

Author’s note: This post is a continuation of “The Grand Finale: Climbing Austria Peak“.



  1. Amy

    Great shots of the path, mountains, people…. Love the reflections you captured, Nicole! Amazing views…

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  3. Intriguing … Kilimanjaro has been on my list also. I just wrote to the contact email address on the Solar Sister website for more info!

    • Awesome! They are wonderful! A fellow blogger and dear friend of mine knows someone who works at Solar Sister and she told me about the opportunity! I know they would love more people! Let me know too if you have any questions. It is going to be a fabulous trip and would be awesome if you could come too!

      • I got the info! This is the route I’ve been wanting to do, but now I’ve got to figure out if I can take another trip this summer. I’m already going to be overseas in June and have two U.S.-based moves to do later in July and August. Might be a stretch to squeeze all this in, but I’m going to see if it’s possible!

  4. maamej

    Wonderful pics. All stunning but I particularly like the two mules against that vast space. Good luck with Kilimanjaro! Have you also thought of trying the Rwenzoris sometime?

      • maamej

        It’s a mountain range on the border of Uganda & DRC, also known as the Mountains of the Moon. Not quite as high as Kilimanjaro but more spectacular. I saw them from the bottom once, & couldn’t believe how high the peaks went, but then I live in Australia where our mountains are more like large hills.

        I believe they’re extremely challenging to walk into but also amazing. Definitely something for the bucket list, tho I’m not sure I’ll ever have the strength and stamina for them.

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  7. Your thoughts and pictures of your trip are beautiful. We grow so much when we travel, isn’t it?
    Inspired me to try out Kilimanjaro as well! 🙂

    • Thank you so much. Yes, I have loved travel all my life. My parents started me young and I never stopped. It is my passion and I hope someday my children feel the same way (instead of saying “Mommy, why are you leaving again?””

  8. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. The images are so memorable and remind me of our adventure to Machu Picchu. I love your line about choosing the right path in life, made me think of my grandfather whose words of advice to me when I was 13 were, ” In life Andrew there are always two roads, a right road and a wrong road. Make sure you always choose the right one.” Climbing Kilimanjaro, that’s wonderful and for such a great cause; definitely the right path. I shall look forward to reading all about it. Warm wishes, as always 🙂

    • Thanks Andrew! Machu Picchu was my very first big hike that I did with my dad and from that point on, I just didn’t stop.
      My dad always taught me “carpe diem” and that is what I do. Go for it. Thanks so much for support. 🙂

  9. Wonderful post Nicole. Beautiful photos of truly spectacular scenery. The whole story reads like the journey of a lifetime and one I’m sure you’ll always remember. The highest Don and I ever got was 16,404 ft – also in Bolivia, but we drove there. We hiked up to 15,953 in Ecuador, and then turned back due to heinous weather. I can’t imagine being able to tackle what you and your father did. Kudos! The whole journey must have been amazing. The photo above the Robert Frost quote is my favourite.
    And congratulations on the decision to climb Kili – another journey of a lifetime!

  10. What a brilliant journey. And fantastic photos. A place I’d love to visit, having made it at last to Nepal last year.
    I climbed Kilimanjaro many years ago in the 80’s the first time I lived in Tanzania. I gather it is a lot more ‘touristy’ now, although that has led to more routes being available. It is a breathtaking mountain and a wonderful country. Make sure that you have time to visit other parts too.

    • Thanks so much! I did Nepal 4.5 years ago which got me to start this blog. I loved it. I know Kili is very touristy these days. Hopefully it won’t be too bad but I’ll just have to tune it out and enjoy the climb and of course the cause! 🙂

  11. Why am I not surprised you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro? Looking forward to hearing all about that adventure. 🙂

    • Ha Ha you know me too well LuAnn! Ever since my dad did it 15 years ago I knew I had to myself. It just took a little longer than I expected! 🙂

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