Last Wednesday, July 1, 18 individuals set out on a trip to traverse the famed Inca trail to Machu Pichu. They will trek for four days and camp on the side of a mountain for three nights. They will walk through rainforests, orchid fields and climb higher than the clouds to the summit of dead woman pass. It will challenge them physically. It will challenge them mentally.

They range in age from 18 to 55. They came from varied professional backgrounds: police chief, state trooper, politician, executive coach, judge, a young adult born with a cleft, a mom who stood watch over her daughter’s 18 cleft surgeries, a pair of college-age sisters, a young couple in love, two college-aged childhood best friends, a mom and her recently graduated high school aged son, a silicone valley techie, a pharmacist, and a humanitarian.

They are led out by our trek leader Rony. Rony is famous in these parts of Peru and a sought after guide. He has led out almost a dozen treks for Smile Network and delivered over 300 trekkers safely to their destination. Assisting Rony is my son Gino. He first completed the trail at age 11 with this father. 10 years later and six Inca Treks under his belt he is assisting as a guide on the trail.

Editor’s note:   I am so proud of Gino.

Written by Smile Network Founder, Kim Valentini