The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller
Almost a year ago today I was climbing up high into the Bolivian Andes in Condoriri Valley with my dad. It was an unforgettable trip in many regards. First and foremost, it was only six months after my father completed chemotherapy. To climb two mountains over 16,000 feet in two days is quite a remarkable recovery to say the least. I am so grateful that we were able to go on another amazing hike together. I don’t seem to have any other hiking partner as adventurous and fit as my dad. Second, for me it was proof that I could mentally and physically climb at high altitude. Landing in La Paz at one of the highest international airports in the world and then promptly driving to our base camp at 15,000 feet proved that my body could adjust and handle the thin air. It was the determining factor in my decision to climb Kilimanjaro this past July.
While I don’t have any climbing trips planned at the moment I still enjoy remembering and reflecting on my trips to the mountains. I have recently decided to revamp my Instagram account and slowly add new photos to my gallery. I feel these two pictures from my trip last November to Bolivia are right up there among my personal best. They inspire me to chase my dreams and never give up. I hope to be climbing again soon somewhere in the world.
If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards. – Paul Bryant
This photo was taken as we were leaving our base camp in Condoriri Valley. In high season there can be hundreds of tents and climbers however we were the only ones there. It was quite cold in November dropping down to 15 degrees farenheit at night. But we had the entire place to ourselves. How lucky!
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell
Our first big climb in Condoriri Valley was to Mount Jaillaico at 16,899 feet (5,152 m). Known as the “Mirador”, our trekking guide called it a relatively “easy” trekking peak that can be reached through grassy hills, glacial moraines and rocky slopes with no technical ability. Basically it is a warm-up climb for those serious mountaineers who are hoping to climb some of the bigger beasts in the area like the mighty Huayna Potosí (at 19,974 feet/6,088 m) or Illimani the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real at 21,122 feet/6,438 meters.
I look forward to sharing more of my favorite photos on Instagram. I have decided to spend more time on Instagram finding new inspiring photographers and travel bloggers who share their world. If you know of anyone I should check out including yourself please let me know.
To find my account, you can visit me here. I have also added the Instagram widget to the bottom of my blog to show the latest photos posted on Instagram. I hope to see you there!