Exploring the Sacred Valley

The Trekkers have been busy since they hit the ground in Peru!

The last two days have been spent exploring Cusco and getting acclimated to the 12,000 feet altitude visiting the ruins in the Sacred Valley.

Today they visited the Alpaca Farm and we hear Sue Hawkes was the “llama whisperer” with two llamas literally eating our of her hands!

Early tomorrow morning, they will start their journey on the Inca Trail! They will check in at the Government Checkpoint where the trailhead is at 7,000 feet. They will cross the raging Urubamba River on a rope bridge and trek for about six hours tomorrow before arriving at their first campsite at 8,500 feet.

The 14 trekkers are in excellent hands led by our wonderful Trail Guide, Rony, who will be taking them up the mountain along with three cooks and 20 porters carrying all the the supplies, including the food, tents, and everything they need for the 4-day trek!

#SmilenetworkMission
#SmilenetworkInca2014

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Delta Airlines Send Off

The 14 trekkers arrived at the airport this morning ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

We were quite impressed with the packing skills of several of the trekkers who managed to pack for the trek and mission with only one bag and a carry on!

Before they boarded the plane, they received a special sendoff from our friends and partners at Delta Airlines! A heartfelt goodbye on the loud speaker at the gate from Captain Greg Cardis, Chief Pilot for Delta Airlines and Andy Zarras, Vice President for Delta Airlines brought tears and cheers from fellow travelers!

Watch the video here!~
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152477482608911&set=vb.52456863910&type=2&theater

Today will be a long travel day- with a layover in Atlanta and then the flight to Lima,, Peru where they will arrive after midnight. They will get a restful night of sleep in Lima before they fly to Cusco, Peru tomorrow morning!

Safe travels!

Off to Peru!

Hiking boots are broken in, camping gear is purchased, one thousand pounds of medical supplies are packed and this week 14 trekkers will depart for Peru to hike the famed Inca Trail.

These adventurous individuals will embark on a journey of a lifetime. Their purpose: to create awareness about the hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries who suffer as social outcasts because they have been born with clefts.

Next week, 50 children of Cusco, Peru will receive the gift of new smile as a result of the fundraising efforts of these trekkers! In the space of 45 minutes and for just $500, a life is transformed.

On behalf of the kids served by Smile Network international, we would like to personally thank our trekkers: Lila Tully, Rik Lalim, Natasha Freimark, Ann Lori, Laurie and Emma Wondra, Lisa Elm, Robby Metcalf, Nancy Peterson, Sue Hawkes, Kevin, Summer, and Alexandra Stieglbauer and Quinton Coffman for lacing up their hiking boots and committing to this journey!

Follow along on the 26-mile Inca Trail as they ascend to 13,500 feet to Dead Woman’s Pass and then on to the spectacular site of Machu Picchu. Their journey will culminate at the mission site in Cusco, Peru where they will see firsthand the life-changing surgeries and meet the children and families served by Smile Network.