All posts by Smile User

Trekking Onward

Yesterday the trekkers accessed the famed Inca trail under sunny skies and a light breeze, the perfect weather conditions for trekking in the Andes. The four-day forecast called for sunshine and more importantly, no rain. All were emotional and apprehensive as they set out. The started the trek at 7,000 feet and trekked eight miles on gently rolling hills and a path that ran parallel to the Urubamba River.

Today they rose at 6 am to get an early start before the heat of the day set in as they climb to Dead Woman’s Pass at 14,000 feet. As they set out the temperatures were just above freezing and will reach the high sixties or low seventies by midday.

Today each of them will find out what they are made of. It is the toughest day of the four days on the mountain. The ascent is steep and the winds that blow through the mountain pass increase the trek’s difficulty. It is almost 7 pm in Peru as I write this post for the blog. I have an agreement with their trek guide that he will only contact me if there is a problem and since I have not heard from him I can safely assume that all of the trekkers cleared the pass and are having dinner in the mass tent now sharing their stories from the day.

I am sharing some of their photographs from earlier in the week. The group acclimated to the elevation in Peru with trial treks and a little shopping. I can confidently tell you that they had an impact on the Peruvian GNP. This is important because the women they have purchased goods from are economically disadvantaged and we know that when you economically empower these women they spend their money on food and education for their children and that’s good for everyone.

More to come.

The Journey Begins

Great accomplishments generally have their roots in humble beginnings. Today nine adventurous individuals from Minnesota and South Dakota started their trek on the Inca Trail.
It is estimated that the 26-mile trek through the Andes is made up of over 82,000 steps and 55,000 stairs. They are hiking to create awareness for the plight of children born with facial deformities and raise money and awareness for Smile Network. You should know a couple of things about these amazing people. They have trained hard for the last few months to prepare for this climb that will take them to 14,000 feet. They are supported by donors who have contributed more than $30,000 to support their efforts to provide children who are on a waiting list for life-altering surgeries provided by Smile Network. These surgeries are free of charge and the recipients are some of the poorest children in the world. One hundred percent of the donations received go directly to a child’s surgery. The trekkers are paying all of their own travel expenses associated with this trip.

They range in age from nineteen to fifty-nine. Their efforts to summit Dead Woman’s Pass and proceed on foot to Machu Picchu are supported by 16 porters, two cooks, and three guides. They will camp for three nights on the side of a mountain prior to walking into the famed Gate of the Sun.

Follow Hillary Kiefer, Rachael White, Carla Warner, Olivia Ryan, Donna Ruekert, Denise Kraemer, Stacy Hinkemeyer, Laurie Giacoletto and Russell Grismer as they make their way on the trail.