Searching For the Rainbow in the Mountain

Peru has simply been amazing. I love Peru. So it was not a surprise that I ended up spending two months in this country and having some truly memorable experiences. Not least of which was the remarkable area surrounding Ausungate, the largest peak in the Cusco region. I ended up doing two treks in the area, one traditional circuit around Ausungate, and one very non-traditional search for Vinicunca.

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May 11, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Travel 1

No Easy Fixes

Turns out, life is happening right now. No matter where you are. Life is life. It is easy to wish we were somewhere else, doing something else, or even with someone else. Even when everything in life looks pretty damn good, it’s so easy to fall into that mental trap of longing for things you don’t have, and overlooking or not appreciating what you do have.

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April 24, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 1

Trekking Alpamayo: Searching for the World’s Most Beautiful Mountain

Turns out, it’s not easy to get to the world’s most beautiful mountain. Alpamayo, located in the heart of the Cordillera Blancas in Peru, has long attracted climbers and trekkers for its stunning beauty. In the 60’s, a German magazine conducted a survey of climbers and photographers, polling them on what mountain was the most beautiful in all the world. 19,500 foot Alpamayo came out on top, and Peru has been touting that claim to fame ever since. Having been to the Cordillera Blancas twice before without witnessing the mountain’s beauty with my own eyes, trekking back to it during my travels this time around was a priority. For those interested in trekking here themselves, perhaps this could be useful. Here’s my “travel notes” style description of the 8 day trek (I recommend doing it in 9 days). Victor wrangles the donkeys Day One: It took about 5 hours to get to the trailhead via collectivo, a rickety van that seats 12 people, but fits upward of 26 people if the driver so desires. Four hours of this drive and you are on the craziest, most zig-zag-winding, steep, beautiful road I’ve ever been on. In the town of Vaqueria we met […]

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March 10, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 5

Tourist vs. Traveler

Here’s a riddle for you. It was midday, the 16th of August, when the bus dropped me off. Five days later, I left on March 9th. The main difference between being a tourist and a traveler is that a tourist is looking for a safe, easily consumable experiences that offers the perception of something genuine. A traveler is looking to delve into more grimy realities, often the experiences are borderline uncomfortable, and usually require a bit more nuance and interpretation. Honestly sometimes I’m still a tourist who is searching for those easily consumable experiences. My recent foray into the Ecuadorean Amazon challenged me to not be a tourist, and to embrace being a traveler in a fairly uncomfortable situation. I left Baños, Ecuador in search of Tawasap, a community of Shuar people in the Amazon. A friend of mine had been there a year prior and recommended that I go. Without being entirely sure of what to expect, I headed into the Amazon. I had directions, and little else. The bus dropped me off at a town called the 16 de Agosto (see riddle above), from here I needed to walk down a dirt road through the jungle until I hopefully arrived […]

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February 28, 2015 by Eric Hanson General, Photography, Travel 8

How I Crapped My Pants 20 Times. Or, Climbing Cotopaxi.

Warning: This gets vulnerable and messy, but it’s an honest account of my climb up Cotopaxi There’s no ifs ands or butts about it, I have woken up this morning with an unfortunately-timed case of the runs. We are heading to climb Cotopaxi, a 19,300 foot beast-of-a-volcano in Ecuador, this is no time for Montezuma’s Revenge. Maybe it will pass, I think as we meet our guide Joaquin and head to Cotopaxi National Park. Climbing Cotopaxi had been a major goal of mine as Eric and I traveled, and I am feeling a little nervous about the climb. I have never experienced climbing anything close to this big. Eric and I have put in our work to acclimatize, recently climbing 15,000+ foot Imbabura and hiking in the National Park the day before at 16,000 feet. I feel ready for the mountain. A burst of hail pelts Joaquin’s vehicle as the three of us sit quietly inside, listening to the steady thump of the hail pounding the vehicle. “Once this passes, we will go up,” Joaquin says. The first task is to get to the Refugio, a climber’s lodge built just below the glacier. We need to ascend to 16,000 feet to […]

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