Sometimes You Need to Get Lost in Peru

November 30, 2023

Getting Lost in the Forest

Sometimes you need to get lost…

To begin a new adventure. When there is always a clear (or what you think is clear) path in front of you, it’s easy to keep walking it. Even if it may not take you where you want to go. Sometimes you just need to get lost in the woods (literally and figuratively) to find your way.

PC: Leslie F. Halleck

I was hiking a supposed back side trail down from the mountaintop Tambomachay ruins in Cusco, Peru (if I recall correctly that’s the site I was at for this hike but it could be a different one). Instead of taking the normal public descent back to the town where I was to meet a friend who would pick me up, I decided for a longer more scenic route. The local guide posted at the ruins indicated with hand gestures that yes I could get where I was going by hiking down the mountain...that way...mind you he just pointed in a general direction.

I was like…ok cool! Why not, right? It was a beautiful hike and I have many photos of amazing plants I found. But about an hour in the tiny sort of foot path that looked like a foot path disappeared. No markers, no path, just lots of mountains and a tiny descending stream that would appear and disappear…then reappeared sometimes.

I just had to pick a direction, pointed myself downward, and hoped that in my descent I’d end up in the right village in time for my ride. No, no cell signal of course. No map. No path. I just had to trust my gut. I thought Huh, if it gets dark and I don’t show up…maybe my friend will send someone? Images of helicopter rescues ensued. Although something like a llama rescue would have probably been more in order.

I tromped may way along keeping my eye out for the little stream to follow, forced to switch back and forth from both mountainsides in order to find a walkable route. After a few hours, I got a view of a valley and hoped I would end up at the right destination in time. I did. Whew.

I’m not recommending you go get lost in a mountain forest in a foreign country in order to find your way. But I will say it was one of the most lovely and memorable hikes. I’m on another one of those hikes in life right now, and I can’t wait to see what new adventure awaits.

If you find yourself uncertain about your current path, it might be time to through caution to the wind and get lost for a while.

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