On Monday we left from our hotel around 6am to head for the Cusco airport to catch our plane to Puerto Maldonado…the home of the rainforest. We said good-bye to our new friends at Jorge’s hotel and off we flew.
We arrived in Puerto Maldonado around 9:30am to chilly, rainy weather. Here we were met by our guide, Iris, who was with us the whole time we were in the Amazon. We dropped off our luggage at their local office (we were only allowed a duffel bag to the resort because there was a weight limit for the boat ride we had to take to get there) and hopped on a covered boat. The boat ride was interesting to say the least…it was cold, rainy and windy and we made the best of it by laughing at each others raincoats whipping around in the wind.
We checked into our cute little huts at the Corto Maltes Lodge in the middle of the Amazon and then had a delicious lunch made from all local ingredients from the rainforest.
We headed out at 3:30pm, raincoats and all, for our first trek into the jungle. We walked for about an hour and a half with Iris who focused on all of the botanical and medicinal aspects of the rainforest. We saw a gamut of amazing things from trees whose bark smelled like garlic to leaves that were natural anesthetics.
At 7:30pm we took a night boat ride along the Madre de Dios River to scout for the white camen (small crocodile like creatures). We saw several of them and were absolutely amazed by the keen eye of the jungle guides to spot these creatures in the dark!
We ate dinner at 8pm, headed to our huts, slept to the amazing sounds of the jungle and then were up at 5am to start the day again.
We began our day on Tuesday by taking a 20 minute trek to a look-out location where we watched hundreds of Dusty Headed Parakeets flock among the trees for their morning ritual. Breakfast was at 8am and then we had some time to soak in the 80 degree sun before we were off again at 10:30 by boat to the Tambopata National Reserve…sporting our knee high, and very Diva I might add, rubber boots!
Our day consisted of walking in goopy mud along the trail for 3km (~2.3 miles) to Lake Sandoval, where we then boarded a canoe and spent a couple hours on the lake spotting 3 types of monkeys (including the Red Howler Monkey), several species of birds and absolutely breathtaking flowers and foliage. We soaked in the warm sun and totally enjoyed our time on the lake!
We then headed back, boots and all, to our starting location and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the Madre de Dios River on our boat ride back to the Lodge. We spent the evening laughing, missing our new Peruvian friends from the trail and playing cards.
This morning we start our long journey back home to the United States. Overall this was an amazing journey and I was blessed to have 7 amazing women join me on my third time in this miraculous country. We were blessed so much along the way from the weather being perfect just about every day, the “beautiful” (that one is for you Edgar!) new friends we met (romances and all!) to the miraculous things we all learned about this sacred country and its sites but most importantly…what we learned about ourselves. We all would agree that throughout everything we experienced, from the amazing to the frustrating, we were able to cleanse, release and transform in a way that changed us all forever. This has been a journey I know I will never forget and the changes will continue when we return…because that is what this country does…it stays with you forever.
For those of you who faithfully followed our journey on this blog, I thank you! It was nice to know we had “cheerleaders” back home. :) If any of you are interested in taking a journey like this one, I will be returning to Peru again in April of 2013. I would love to have you join me!!! Again, thank you to Sacred Earth Journeys (www.sacredearthjourneys.ca) for putting together an amazing agenda for us!!
Continue to watch my blog because starting on Monday; I will be posting daily inspirational messages to the blog Monday through Friday.
We are off to catch our plane, so until next time….
Much love and gratitude,
Chris and her “Princesses”Inca Trail Day 3 and 4
Barely able to get up because our knees hurt so bad from all of our uphill climbing the day before, we were up at 5:30 am and on the trail by 7am. This day was only slightly easier than Day 2 being mostly down hill, which is harder than it sounds, and our longest day….hiking for 11 hours.
We realized the Incas REALLY must have liked stairs and thought our decent down the stairs would never end…every corner we turned we had MORE stairs. This day we went through amazing caves and beautiful jungle terrain still. We had a constant view of Mountain Veronica (Karen’s favorite because her middle name is Veronica!) and she kept us inspired and reminded us why we were here….to rebirth ourselves, release heavy energies that no longer serve us and transform.
The cruelest joke of all was when we got close to the camp site (at least we THOUGHT we were close) and the camp site was so large we had to go down 11 more flights of stairs to get to our camp!!! OUCH!! By this point, everyone’s knees and legs were shaking and we couldn’t wait to sit down…although when we tried our knees didn’t seem to work.
We literally fell into our tents after a warm delicious meal to sleep for only 4 hours because we were up at 3:30 am to start Day 4!
3:30 am is WAY too early to wake up but we all did it and were in an awesome mood because this was the day we arrive to Machu Picchu!!
We loaded our gear, said goodbye to our amazing porters and hit the trail at 5:30 am.
The trail this day was mostly flat again like Day 1 except for a few areas…such as the steep incline we had to literally climb to get to the top. (One of the Inca’s way of keeping people from finding Machu Picchu.) As each amazing woman made her climb up, I played “Eye of the Tiger” on my phone and at the top Edgar awaited to bless them with Florida water.
We arrived at the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu from the trail, not too long after and all cried tears of joy to see her beauty and peacefulness. On our way down to Machu Picchu, we were met by Carol C. and Carol S. who re-joined the group and we all felt whole again!
Machu Picchu is one of those amazing places you cannot describe nor capture in a mere picture. Her ancient beauty and power make you realize there is more to our lives than bills to pay and places to get to on time. She reminds us that we are all here for a reason and the most important thing in our lives is love and finding our balance.
After touring most of Machu Picchu, Edgar took us to the Crystal Wall where we placed our heads on the wall and then stood out on a ledge overlooking Machu Picchu to find our “balance” in life. AMAZING is all I have to say!!!
After visiting Machu Picchu we all headed to our hotel in Aquas Calientes and immediately went to the natural hot springs which felt amazing on our sore muscles! We had a great dinner at the hotel and the next day everyone had the morning to themselves to shop, get massages and sight see. We boarded our train back to Cusco around 2:30pm, went right back to our old hotel and were greeted by Don Isidro! We all freshened up and headed to the Cusco square for a celebration dinner with Pedro, Don Isidro, Edgars wife and baby Randy who we picked up along the way and our cook Libio! We had an awesome time eating and listening to live Peruvian music at Libio’s brother’s restaurant!
We said our sad goodbyes to Edgar and the gang and headed to bed. This morning we board our flight to the Amazon Jungle where we will be for the next two days…
Until the Amazon…
ChrisInca Trail Day 1 and 2
For those of you who have been waiting patiently for the blog, I apologize for it being a few days late. We had no internet connection on the trail (obviously) and during our day in Aquas Calientes after the trail the internet was on and off. But…here we are again!!! Read on….
After spending a wonderful day in beautiful Ollantaytambo, the next morning we hit the Inca Trail at 9:15am starting our journey at Km 82. Having done this twice before, I can tell you that although Day 1 on the trail is no piece of cake, it is the easiest day of the 4.
As we began our walk, we watched our amazing porters (all 14 of them) load 50-60lbs each of “stuff” on their backs and head up the mountain ahead of us. We enjoyed the easy flat terrain with views of snow capped mountains, old Incan storehouses, and the beautiful Andes Mountains.
As the day passed, the girls had their first experience having to use nature as their bathroom! They all passed with flying colors and Beverly was more prepared than the rest, using her new “Go Girl” tool that helped her “pee like a man” standing up! LOL!
We made our first stop for lunch and as our amazing cook prepared us a 3 course meal of corn soup, fish, rice and veggies with bananas and tea for dessert, then we all took a siesta on the grass.
We then hit the road and arrived at our first camp site around 4:15pm to our tents already set up and popcorn, crackers and tea awaiting us. Our camp was interesting to say the least…we were literally in someone’s back yard…roosters crowing at 3am, dogs barking and kids running all around playing!
Day 2 of the trail is the hardest day, entailed of mostly up hill steps and inclines…not to mention that we do that for 10 hours and we hit an altitude at the summit of 13, 780 feet. We began our morning at 7:30 am still viewing the beautiful mountains and then about 3 hours into our hike our terrain turned into jungle. We all had our up and down moments but Edgar played his flute which echoed through the trail as we walked which kept us motivated and joyful. We supported each other as we battled sore backs, sour stomachs due to the altitude and aching knees. Our walking poles became our new best friends!!!
We met amazing people as we walked the trail…people from all corners of the globe including Australia, England and believe it or not a group from the East Coast of the USA!!! We finally made it to the summit and all cried tears of joy because of the amazing feat we just accomplished. The weather at the top was very chilly and after celebrating with chocolate from Carol C. who couldn’t join us, we began our decent down…down…down….
We arrived at camp to warm quinoa soup, veggies, a delicious eggplant dish and warm peaches and coca tea for dessert. Our chef, Libio, was amazing!!! He sat in a little tent with his chef’s hat on cooking just like in a 5 star restaurant…which is where he used to work before the trail! He was extremely good looking and I now have my very own “Inca Trail boyfriend!” LOL!
After dinner Edgar celebrated our “rebirth” in doing the trail with a despacho ceremony, which is an ancient Incan traditional ceremony where you put all of your intentions into a mesa and then either burn or place it in the ground (Pacha Mama) for your intentions to be fulfilled. He took our
despacho up the mountain the next day to offer it to our Mother Earth.
Laughing kept us warm in the below 32 degree weather and after dinner crawled (literally) into our sleeping bags, got warm and slept until our journey.
We all at this point had many challenges come up from being cold, to hurting, to wondering why we did this at all…but in the end, when we would look up and see each other as well as the beautiful scenes nature graced us with as we walked our journey to our new selves, everything always seemed to be OK.
ChrisThe Cosmic Agenda
Do you remember yesterday when I said we are following the “Cosmic Agenda” rather than our own? Well….
First off, Carol S. decided after a long day yesterday that she was not being called to do the Inca Trail with us so her and I made plans for her to hang out in Aguas Calientes, the cute little town Machu Picchu sits in, while we hike the trail. Then, Carol C. (I have 3 Carol’s on this trip!) came down with a horrible case of altitude sickness and we had to get her to a Peruvian Clinic at 7am this morning. She is doing wonderfully now but gave us all a huge scare! Yesterday, Carol was introduced to an herb called Ruda which you can sniff and it is very good for altitude sickness. Every single time I turned around yesterday Carol was sniffing her Ruda. I told her she got sick today due to “Ruda overdose!” Lol! She decided to stay back and not do the trail as well so now Carol S. has company in Aquas Calientes. All worked out beautifully!
So, while Carol and I were at the Clinic getting her well, the group left at the regularly scheduled time with Edgar and our Shaman Don Isidro to head to Pisac, a very sacred place on the way to the Sacred Valley. They had a wonderful time visiting the sites there and shopping (of course!) and even got to meet Edgars fiancé’ and 2 year old son.
Carol and I drove separately, thanks to the wonderful hospitality of Jorge Luis and his staff at the Taypikala Hotel (visit their hotel website at www.taypikala.com) and arrived just in time in Ollytatambo to meet the group for our tour there. Edgar did a beautiful job explaining how Ollytatambo is known for rebirthing yourself. We used the energies of this magical place to set our intentions for our sacred walk on the Inca Trail. Everyone came up with a mantra (or affirmation) to say on the trail when things get “tough.” A beautiful practice to bring them back to their higher self.
We then checked into our lovely hotel in Ollytatambo and were then lead in a chakra cleansing ceremony using cuyas (they look like little conch shells) by Don Isidro which lifted the heavy energies from our system and gave them to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) to transform for us and get us ready for our journey.
After dinner we all headed back to my room and discussed packing for the trail for the 800th time (lol!) and then Don Isidro did coca leaf readings with everyone where we found out select information regarding our future, careers, and love lives. Apparently, my man is “lejos” or far away…no wonder I’ve had a hard time finding him!!!! LOL! I guess it’s a good thing I travel so much….
We all headed to bed early to be ready to hit the Inca Trail fresh and full of energy at 7am tomorrow morning. We will be hiking through the Andes Mountains with 3 guides (which includes myself), 13 porters and 1 cook. The first day we will be hiking for 7 hours, Day 2 for 10 hours, Day 3 for 12 hours and Day 4 we will arrive in Machu Picchu after only an hour and a half hike. You will not see a blog from us until we return on Saturday and I promise it will be chalk full of miracle happenings and pictures!
On last thing, I want to give a HUGE shout out and THANK YOU to Helen Tomei of Sacred Earth Journeys because without her expertise and amazing scheduling none of this would be possible! THANK YOU SACRED EARTH JOURNEYS!! For those of you who follow my journeys, Helen will be booking them all from now on and just to give you a sneak peak of some of the places I will be going in the future, besides Peru every April of course, check out her website at www.sacredearthjourneys.ca.
Send us some good energy and we will be thinking about all of you and sending you love as we take our adventure of a lifetime!!!
ChrisThe Birthing Process
Being in Peru is like giving birth. For those of you who cannot relate to the process of giving birth, it is joyful in the beginning, challenges arise in the middle as the baby is growing, the birthing process pushes you to your limit and you think you just cannot go on and then you are overwhelmed with a sense of amazing joy when you see the end product…your baby.
After only 3 days here in this beautiful country, many of us have experienced several things that have pushed us to our limit and challenged us in ways we like and in ways we do not like. Altitude sickness, emotional trauma returning, physical pains, rigidity around schedules, fears about making it on the trail, etc. have all been ailments we have faced and overcame. We are on what I like to call the “Cosmic Agenda,” although we have our own schedule, it may not be the schedule the Cosmos has intended for us as our highest path.
Today we spent the entire day in 2 towns: Chincero and Moray. Chincero gifted us with beautiful mountains and scenery and a demonstration by the local women on how they weave their cloth and make their dyes from all natural products. How we ever got away from this I will never know!! Nature supplies us with everything we possibly need!! We were able to purchase many gifts made of their fabric and tapestries to take home as memories.
Next we traveled to Moray. When you visit Moray, you are re-introduced to your higher self…the self you are meant to be in this lifetime minus all of the crap your ego feeds your mind. We all journeyed into the center of the concentric circle field where we held a brief ceremony individually reconnecting with our true essence. Powerful does not even come close to describing what we all felt in this special place.
During dinner we were briefed on our hike on the Inca Trail which we depart for the day after tomorrow. As we get closer to taking the walk that leads us back to our true self, we all will be greeted by the lessons that are awaiting us there. Our job is to remain open, receptive and willing to change.
Just like birth, we started out excited, may become a little scared of the unknown facing us, but the end product will be one that will change our lives forever. We will never be the same again…and finally, our higher self will take the reigns and lead us to that place in our heart where we finally feel at home.
Until we meet again,
ChrisLet Your Sun Shine
We started our day out extremely early after only getting about 4 hours of sleep. Upon arriving at the Cusco airport, we were surprised and thrilled to be greeted by Jorge Luis himself! On the bus ride to our hotel, he already had the entire bus crying tears of joy listening to him discuss the powers of Peru, staying in the present moment and releasing our resistances to becoming our true essence. What is our true essence? Returning to a state of joy in our lives and living from love and not fear. I find this “ironic” because my book, which will be out this summer, is titled “Living the Fearless Life: The Choices of Sustainable Joy.” I guess I’m on to something… lol!
After settling into our rooms and having a nice lunch at the hotel (which is beautiful and owned by Jorge Luis!) we were greeted by our guide and shaman Edgar who will be with us through the Inca Trail. Edgar is an amazingly wise young man with the sweetest energy I have ever seen! We boarded our bus and headed to Sacsayhuaman (or as Donna heard it, “sexy woman,” which is almost exactly how it sounds in Quecha). During our time here, we learned about the amazing stone architecture of the Incas, took a slide down a “stone slide,” and spent some time meditating on our own as we walked with our Quintus to find a place to ask for our intentions to be manifested. A quintu consists of 3 coca leaves together (kind of forming a fan) that you blow your intentions and things you may want to release from your life into. You then find a “power place” to leave your quintu as a thank you and an offering to Mother Earth to manifest your intention.
We then took a powerful, short walk through a symbolic “birth canal” cave. This was a very small, tight spaced’ pitch black cave we had to walk through and make it to the other side. Very symbolic and VERY transformative for 3 people in our group. Donna and Carolyn who are afraid of closed spaces made it through like a champ (Carolyn had the help of a little one named Flora who guided her through the cave holding her hand – “and a child shall lead them”) and Carol who is terrified of the dark. They all stayed in the moment, challenged themselves and DID IT!!! Woo-hoo! Transformation on the first day!!!!
Lastly, before we left, we all took a solo ceremonial walk through a very sacred part of Sacsayhuaman that is meant to clear your heavy mental energies. As we were walking, letting our hearts lead the way, a rainbow appeared above us…a very good sign that we are on the right path! :)
We ended our amazing day eating dinner with Jorge Luis and listening to his wise spiritual knowledge and wisdom on SO many things.
Everything you do when you are in Peru is with intention. Everything you do, gratitude follows. And everything you experience is healing. The focus for so many things we are doing here is to expand love, service and wisdom in ourselves and in the world. These things cannot be realized until we love ourselves. In the Aymara tradition, it is believed that the past is in front of you because you can see it and the future is behind you because you cannot see it yet. Loving yourself means loving your past and finding harmony in your future and the relationship in your life…especially the one you have with yourself.
That is what this trip is all about for so many of us: Finding our way back to loving ourselves so we can be the light for so many whose lives we touch…just like the sun shining down on us from the sky. The sun, our cosmic teacher, who by her brilliant warmth and wisdom, shine upon us daily with the hopes that we someday learn to shine within ourselves….as she waits patiently for our return.
Hoping you are letting your own light shine with lots of munay (love),
ChrisFly Far Away
Day 1 of our journey began at the Philadelphia Airport around 10:30am. Although we all arrived around different times, we found each other fairly effortlessly. It is always interesting when you get a group of women together to travel across the globe to watch them with their luggage! Lol! We had a 50lb weight limit which we all did well meeting but then we heard a “rumor” that our luggage would go straight to Cusco and tonight during our stay in Lima we would be “luggage-less!” Tell a bunch of women they will not have their “necessities” after traveling for a whole day and you have a bunch of women who will kill!
As always, Peru brings up interesting things for each individual to look at in their lives before, during and after a visit to her. Ironically, we had a group discussion in Philadelphia about staying open and flexible during our journey and just “going with the energy flow” in order to stay open and present to the lessons that want to present themselves to us. Hence, we immediately get a lesson in “going with the flow!” (Watch what you ask for…you just may get it!)
During our group discussion I revealed a “surprise” to the group. A very big piece of anyone’s journey to Peru is always some kind of spiritual transformation. She is a very high vibrating country and is a beautiful place to release and manifest. What better way to experience the spiritual side of this amazing country than with the best of the best when it comes to spiritual guides and shaman? So, I let everyone know that during our first 2 days in Cusco before we hit the Inca Trail we would be blessed with Jorge Luis Delgado, author of the “Andean Awakenings” as a spiritual guide and, as far as I am concerned, he IS the best of the best” when it comes to spiritual guides! Everyone was thrilled!!
Each individual going on this journey has come for their own reasons but the one thing we all have in common is that we are all open to learning, growing and awakening to a new lessons; Lessons that will make us better people and live our lives with a sense of joy and fulfillment. Jorge will certainly be an added blessing to all of us and I cannot wait to see what he is like in person!
We arrived on time in Miami and after hiking a “mini-Inca Trail” to get to our gate (Geez!), settled in to grab a bite to eat and enjoyed getting to know one another. It was a 5 and a half hour flight to Lima where we de-planed, picked up our luggage, walked it around the airport, and then dropped it back off again! We got to our hotel in Lima around 1:30 am….Woo hoo!!! We get 4 hours of sleep!!! Lol!
This is my 3rd time in Peru and many people ask me why I come here. Well…it’s hard to answer that question because Peru is someplace you “feel” more than “experience.” She allows you the space to be present and have a precious few moments to listen to the silence of your soul and the language she speaks when there is no “noise.” It is in those times that we have our “awakenings” and discover who we truly are. Can we have a similar experience at home…sure. But sometimes, if we “fly far away” to a place where the playing ground is neutral and we have no distractions from work, kids, schedules, relationships, etc., we find that part of ourselves that has been hidden beneath all of the chaos. It is this part of us that Peru opens our eyes too. Peru leads us home…..