Tag Archives: Machu Pichu

The Climb

Dead women’s pass is not for the faint of heart. By days end each trekker will know what they are made of. They will ascend to this infamous pass high in the Andes and summit about 3pm.

They will climb over 3,600 vertical feet to an elevation to nearly 14,000 feet to the summit. Before leaving the camp they banned each other whining on the trail today but gave themselves permission to cry and cuss.

Having done the Inca trail 11 years ago, I would say that climbing to dead women’s pass is analogous to childbirth. In the midst of it, you are asking yourself, “what did I get myself into?” When it’s over and you are feeling immensely triumphant and proud of your accomplishment you say to yourself, “I think I can do this again someday!” Under the stars of the southern sky this evening they will know that the trails highest pass yields the greatest rewards.

By Kim Valentini- Founder Smile Network

Trekker, Scott Behmer taking in all the glory of the beautiful Andes Mountains.

Machu Picchu!

Today the trekkers will arrive to their destination, the famed Machu Picchu.  Tonight they will celebrate their achievement in the mountain town of Aguascalientes.   They will get their first shower in over four days and get to sleep in a real bed!

Tomorrow they will travel back to Lima to meet the children for whom they have laced up their hiking boots and did the hard work of raising money and awareness for the children awaiting surgeries.

Change the world. Change the future. Change a life.



No Turning Back!

This afternoon, five volunteers embarked on the adventure of a lifetime, to raise awareness and funds to bring smiles to children across the globe through Smile Network International.

The group consists of a wide range of individuals ages 17-61 including a US Air Force Veteran, psychologist and 17-year old high school student. They departed today from Minneapolis for Peru where they will hike the Inca Trail – a four-day, high-elevation 26-mile stone-paved trek to the famed city of Machu Picchu.

After completing the trek, they will participate in a Smile Network mission in Lima, Peru where they will meet the patients and families and see firsthand the life-changing surgeries.  The trekkers give their time, heart and financial support to make these surgical missions possible. To date, this group of trekkers has raised nearly $20,000!

You can monitor the team’s ascent to the 14,000 feet summit as they progress to Machu Picchu here on the Smile Network blog or by following Smile Network on Facebook.

As for some words of wisdom for the group … No turning back. Can’t wait!


Where is your mountain and are you climbing it?

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




Climb any mountains lately?

Over the next two weeks, 26 adventurous individuals embark on a journey of a lifetime—to hike the famed Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.

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.

After they complete the four-day, 26-miles trek and climb more than 56,000 stairs on the original Inca trail built by the Incan civilization, they will join the Smile Network medical mission team to volunteer at the hospital. They will meet the 50 children of Cusco, Peru who 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 children served by Smile Network international, we would like to personally thank our trekkers: Lisa Anderson, Pam Borton, Sarah Buxton, Jules Brown, Alli Cahill, Rachael Gabato, Janee Harteau, Jennifer and Tyler Hartigan, Shelia Kennedy, Matt Kleven, Brenda Leffler, Alex McGraw, David Murray, Samantha and Jackie Nickel, Tim, Mary, Anna and Mara Pawlenty, Joshua Rimpila, Mary Kate Rivisto, and Carrie, Chad, Dane and Jude Yeager, for lacing up their hiking boots and committing to this journey!