Journey to the Heights: A Spiritual Quest on Ausangate, Peru

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Journey to the Heights: A Spiritual Quest on Ausangate, Peru

Embarking on my first adventure in South America, I found myself headed to the majestic heights of Ausangate in Peru on day two. The journey unfolded from the bustling streets of Lima to the ancient city of Cuzco, leading me through a long ride that eventually wound its way up to a mountain village. What awaited me was a profound spiritual experience amidst breathtaking landscapes and the challenges of high-altitude living. This journey was not only a personal quest but also a tribute to my grandmother, whose previous expeditions to Peru served as the catalyst for my own. With her accompanying me, the adventure took on much deeper significance.

Leaving the comforts of Lima behind, the arduous journey up to Ausangate began with a nerve-wracking drive on a turbulent dirt road. The landscape shifted from urban sprawl to remote mountain villages, each turn revealing a more awe-inspiring panorama. Eventually we made the transition from four wheels to horseback, and continued the ascent towards Ausangate. Nature, however, had its own plans. A sudden change in weather turned a beautiful day into a hailstorm. Seeking refuge in a nearby hut, we decided to set up for lunch, turning an unexpected weather twist into an opportunity to connect with the land.

Blessed by Matthias, the keeper of the land, we made the hut our camp for the evening. The warmth of the fire became a focal point for shared stories and camaraderie. As the evening unfolded, we engaged with the spiritual guardian of the land, the apu Ausangate, and worked with shaman Lucio.

Lucio’s cocoa readings unveiled insights into our spiritual journeys. Moved by the energy of the mountains, we built a despacho—an offering to the spirits. The ritual was an intricate dance of gratitude, connection, and intention-setting, a bridge between the earthly and the divine.

As night fell, we warmed our bodies with quinoa soup and hot cocoa, the Andean way. The experience was more than a physical challenge; it became a cosmic communion, bonding us in the simplicity of shared warmth and nourishment.

As darkness enveloped us, we made our offering to the spirits, burning the despacho. The flames flickered against the backdrop of the towering mountains, a testament to our connection with the spiritual forces that surrounded us.

Though the night brought its challenges—freezing temperatures and aching bodies—the view from my tent served as a constant reminder of the profound spiritual quest I had undertaken. The beauty of Ausangate, both physically demanding and spiritually enriching, left an indelible mark on my soul, a testament to the transformative power of nature and the heights one can reach, both physically and spiritually. This journey wasn’t just a trek up a mountain; it was a passage into the heart of the Andes and a personal “vision quest” that will forever resonate in my being.