Check this off the bucket list: climbed a 16,500 foot mountain called Pecco Tunari, in Bolivia.

The day started off at 6am with a small breakfast and coffee. We took a 2 hour bus ride which means 60 minutes in Bolivian time and climbed in a bus up to a stopping point in Tunari Park. We passed small houses made of stone and wood that had families living throughout this park at 14,000 feet! It looked like the modern world had not touched these people in any way. We saw woman and children Herding llamas and sheep. It was something we have never seen before in our lives. We also saw people in the mountain springs stomping potatoes, apparently they do this to freeze dry them for storage. INCREDIBLE!

We finally reached a point when the bus couldn’t go any further and it was time for us to hike. We started off on pretty easy terrane with grass and dirt and at a medium incline. We saw wild llamas roaming, horses galloping, and an amazing lake that later we overlook from the top. We stopped about every half an hour to the top and would snack on something or take photos. (Side note: one person couldn’t make the trip because of stomach issues and another person had the same problem on the hike…not naming names but it made it quite difficult toward the end of the hike)

As we got about 1,000 feet higher we started to climb on a scaling rock that made things a little more difficult…it was like treading water at points. The altitude was also a factor…the higher you got the more you were out of breath it felt like as soon as you started moving forward again. However, finally we made it to the top, taking us about three hours, with much relief that the climb was over. I once heard “all you need to do in life is just put one foot in front of the next in order to achieve what you want” these words brought this experience to a whole new meaning. No matter how long it takes you or what problems you run into you just have to keep moving forward putting one step in front of the next.

After we ate cheese, chocolate, Pringles and some bars we started our First Ascent down the mountain. It took us about 1 hour to get to the bottom…I think the scaling rock helped us on the way down a little. We got in our bus and drove back to our hotel to be transferred to the airport and fly out to La Paz.

It almost feels like it didn’t happen when you are finished. However, it was something we will all never forget. It was a great way to end our trip with Water For People.

And now we are off to Peru!!! Yay!