Tag: adventure

Discover This Hidden Hike In Peru’s Forgotten Incan Refuge

Peru is a hiker’s dream as the country is a blend of various geographies and biomes. Deserts, jungle, windswept coast, and more clash together. As a hiker, you can expect to experience deep ravines and fast running rivers first hand, but the best reason for hiking in Peru is the Andes. 

Pushing Past The Foothills Of The Andes

These are the mountains that makeup fantasy worlds, except they exist in South America just waiting for someone to explore. Although the mountains in Peru are the foothills of the Andes many of their peaks stretch up to 20,000 feet tall over a comparably small area.

To visit this hidden refuge in Peru, you must hike about 40-miles in total, looping back to the start location. Initially, the hike takes explorers through a high-altitude desert and then into a tropical forest in the mountains. At about 10,000 feet you officially enter the foothills of the Andes. The hike keeps away from the more significant peaks, and this hike is one of the best ways to experience standing in the shadow of a mountain. 

Many of those who have made their hikes up to Machu Pichu can attest that spending days among the greenery that makes up the many folds of these mountains is life changing. Most of the hike will take place nestled into the ridges of the Andes, navigating with the ravines and the high mountain ridges.

Machu Picchu Has A Little Sister

The purpose of this hike is to find the final refuge of the Incas, a Citadel in Choquequirao. The Incas, a not-forgotten but still ancient culture which left many clues of their way of life. The Incan empire dates from about 1438 to 1532 AD and the construction as well as agricultural plotting shows the advancement of the Incas who began settling this expansive land.

Although many people make their way to Peru every year to climb the magnificent mountains and step foot into the mysterious Machu Picchu, there are more unanswered questions about Choquequirao. 

The Inca Emporer Pachacuti commissioned Choquequirao for unknown purposes although the Citadel makes it clear there is some divine presence. It is clear to historians that this same Emporer called for the establishment of Machu Picchu for religious purposes, but the fact that Choquequirao is so far from the rest of the Inca settlements baffles researchers. 

Choquequirao translates to “Cradle of Gold” and sits near a small village on the very edge of Cusco that is nearly impossible to access. Hiking to Choquequirao is a daunting task that has no modern conveniences or guidance.

How Choquequirao Was Found And Then Found Again

The trails are as challenging to walk today as they were nearly 500 years ago when the Incas sought their last place of refuge from invading Spaniards. To get to Choquequirao hikers must use the trails set out by the Incas. After the Incas used these paths in the mid-1500s, they would sit untouched and growing wild until 1909.

Hiram Bingham III found Choquequirao, unfortunately for the many explorers of the world, when he discovered Machu Picchu, he forgot all about this city on the edge of the world. It’s no doubt that the stunning sight that sat between curtailed mountaintops grabbed his attention. Choquequirao would sit forgotten again until 1968. 

For explorers the lore of the Incas fall in less than 100 years and the wild nature that has overtaken it make Choquequirao a must-see location. 

Machu Picchu has gone through an assault from the overload of visitors, and now literally sinks into the hills of the Andes. The nature that bloomed and thrived there is dying from pollution and human presence. All the while that Machu Picchu was becoming known as the explorer’s paradise, Choquequirao was making its way onto the Official Register of Archaeological Monuments. 

Hiking Up To Choquequirao

As with many of these mountain trails that run through untamed regions of nature, it’s always best to hire a local guide. Be sure that before hiking up to Choquequirao you know you’re in peak physical condition as the altitudes are high and the hike is demanding.

Any local guide should have a wealth of knowledge about the flora, fauna, local culture, and Inca history or lore. Although all anyone can do is speculate about the purpose of Choquequirao’s existence, many guides can offer insight into the advancements and agricultural methods that the Incas brought to our world.

Choquequirao is known as the edge of the world, although when you finally hit the top of your climb, you’ll realize it doesn’t have all the finality the weight of its nickname carries. Standing at the entrance to Choquequirao you have an unremarkable overlook of the Andes. 

Take In Everything Before You Go

The trail takes a turn that requires patience and caution. The way down is through a stairway path that is nearly a vertical descent and goes on for about 50 stories. 

At the bottom you enter the Rio Apurimac, pass the Playa Rosalina and enter a small farming community. You continue through many farming towns and a massive amount of untouched wilderness. 

The citadel is small, and it’s no doubt that this refuge wasn’t planned to act as the last place of hiding for the Inca people. Before leaving, be sure to observe the small details in craftsmanship as well as the stunning views. Use your imagination to recreate pilgrims making this great journey, as well as the last wave of Incas retreating here for safety. 

Don’t forget to see the Llamas del Sol or to walk among the many other terraces. One of the perks of making this hike is the ability to visit Choquequirao both in the day and night. Many explorers love to camp in the citadel and gaze at the open sky above them. 

Because Choquequirao has gone through waves of restoration, you can see where rebar is present for doorway reconstruction. These days Choquequirao is still a location that only explorers have any interest in and has not seen half the attention that Machu Picchu could have in a year. Who knows how long Choquequirao will stay empty.

First Woman Completes The Calendar-Year Triple Crown Hiking Trip

Only five men have ever managed to complete the adventurous Triple Crown of hiking—the longest, most treacherous hike of all time—in less than 365 days. For many, traveling across the globe in this short length of time is an impossible feat, but the first woman has just completed the Triple Crown, in a record-breaking 251 days.

The Most Gorgeous, Intense Hike Ever

The Triple Crown is the most intense hike ever invented. In order to complete the journey, one must hike the 2,190-mile Appalachian, 2,650-mile Pacific Crest, and 3,100-mile Continental Divide trails. Each trail normally takes five or six months to complete, allowing the average hiker up to three years to attempt the Triple Crown.


But the most adventurous hikers, they attempt to walk each trail in one year—a challenge known as the Calendar-Year Triple Crown. This would be one of the most gorgeous travels, and on November 8, the first woman, Heather “Anish” Anderson, became the sixth person to complete this feat.

Famous For Her Hikes

Anderson is a recognizable name with hikers. Before her recent trip, she’d already attempted the Trip Crown two times. She broke the record for Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail.


But she wasn’t going to stop there. She was determined to complete the Triple Crown in less than a year to honor the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System Act, an act to establish trails in urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities.

Anderson said, “These trails have been really important in my life and in my hiking career.”

A Question Before She Left

Anderson’s hiking trip began on the Appalachian Trail on March 1, 2018. But before she could begin her journey, her boyfriend had an important question for her.


He proposed to her on Springer Mountain right when the couple reached the top. He had to ask her to marry him before the dangerous trip, and she happily said yes.

Beginning The Long Trek

After the proposal, Anderson started walking, first north on the Appalachian Trail until May, exiting at the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. Then, she spent a few weeks on the Continental Divide trails before starting on the Pacific Crest Trail, where she walked with her fiancé as he worked to complete his first Triple Crown.


In August, the couple continued south in Glacier National Park to northern Colorado. Then, in October, they were back to the Appalachian Trail to walk south from Maine to New Hampshire before making her way through the Midwest to Colorado again.

Then, Anderson hiked her last few miles on November 8 to her final destination: Grants, New Mexico.

Overcoming The Challenges

Anderson’s trip wasn’t easy. While you would think the terrains would be dangerous (and they were), the real challenge was the severe weather conditions. Spring and fall months are hazardous seasons in the mountains. Anderson faced icy rain, flooding, thunderstorms, and more.

But no matter what conditions she faced, Anderson successfully completed the Calendar-Year Triple Crown on November 8, in a record-breaking 251 days, 20 hours, and 10 minutes. She was obviously relieved to accomplish her goal.


Now, she can enjoy controlled climates, regular showers, write a book, and start planning her wedding.

5 Gifts Any Backpacker Is Sure To Love!

As the holiday season approaches, people everywhere are struggling to choose the perfect gifts for the important people in their lives. Help the backpacker in your life get trail-ready this giving season with some of the best gear on the market right now!

Just Say No to Frostbite

Keep fingers from freezing with a pair of Backcountry x Black Diamond skintrack gloves. While originally intended for skiing, these gloves have a lot more to offer. The lightweight, breathable material of the gloves prevents hands from overheating, while the water-resistant coating keeps you in comfort. In addition, you can still ‘gram that perfect photo using the helpful touch-screen compatible fingers.

Don’t Forget the Snacks


Another great piece of gear is the ECO Adventure Kit, a 3-piece stainless steel storage solution for all your snacks and meals. The three parts snap together for easy packing and use. It comes with a stainless steel spork, and can even become a cooking pot! Talk about a space saver!

Here Comes the Sun

This is it. The lighting is perfect. The view is amazing. Everyone is ready. And… wait. Your phone just died. All the high-tech phone camera’s and equipment in the world can’t help you if your phone dies at the precise moment you were about to take that one picture that completely captures everything your adventure has meant to you.

With the Tough Tested Bigfoot 24,000 mAh Solar Power Bank, you’ll never have to worry about missing the moment again. It has enough capacity to charge most smartphones at least 8 times. Throw in the ability to recharge using only the power of the sun, and you might never need to come back home.

Science Can Be Magical

A thermos is a thermos is a thermos, right? Well not always. The Cauldryn Mug is so much more. This travel mug is Bluetooth controlled through your phone to keep your drink at the exact temperature you love. Forgot your kettle? No problem. The Cauldryn can boil water and even cook freeze-dried foods! With long battery life and easy to use controls, it’s sure to be a favorite.

The Call in the Wild

Phones are a great way to share our adventures with the world. Everyone shares the hatred of “dead zones” where cell reception is nothing more than a faint hope. Unfortunately, many of the most interesting places to explore are found in these “dead zones”. Enter the Weboost Drive Sleek. This device helps phones connect to cell service in places it normally couldn’t due to poor signal strength. Now the important backpacker in your life can update you every night— just like they promised they would.

So, whether you’re chasing adventure half-way across the world, or just in the local park, having the right gear can take the experience to a whole new level. With your bag now packed, the only thing left to do is get out there and explore!

MORE: Know someone who likes to take their adventure up to the next level? Check out our picks for the top three extreme cold weather tents to keep you warm and toasty in unforgiving winter conditions.

Monkeys Rescue Lost Amazon Jungle Tourist

South America’s Amazon Jungle is a vast, wild, unforgiving place. A place of dangerous animals and poisonous insects, of thick impenetrable scrub and foliage, of winding rivers and estuaries, but also a place where spirits, both good and evil, permeate the heated atmosphere like the thick, constant, fog-like humidity. I did my first trek there in 2014 and in the process, was severely bitten by piranhas, plagued by a tarantula that had crawled up my back (thank God for my fixer who spotted it and swatted it off), encountered a snorting animal of unknown origin in my hut in the middle of the night, and finally, suffered a hairline fracture in my foot during an impromptu post-lunch soccer match with a group of native guides.

But none of my adventures and misadventures in the jungle compare to a 25 year old Chilean tourist, Maykool Coroseo Acuna who, after going missing recently in a thick area of Bolivian rain forest, managed to survive a harrowing nine day ordeal with the help of monkeys. According to a report from National Geographic, the monkeys dropped him fruit and also successfully led him to both shelter and clean water every day.

Mother Earth’s Karma Enacted?

Madidi National Park

Witnesses said that the night before Acuna mysteriously disappeared, he refused to participate in a traditional ceremony honoring Pachamama or Mother Earth. The traditional ceremony is performed as a thank you for her allowing visitors access to the rain forest home. Local custom dictates that coca leaves, candles, and cigarettes be offered to her. Why Acuna refused to participate in the ceremony is still unclear, but what is clear is his having gone missing from his Max Adventures tour group which had established its camp deep inside Bolivia’s Madidi National Park.

The owner of Max Adventures, Feizar Nava, said that it was because he offended the Pachamama, that Acuna went missing. A native Bolivian, Nava, believes the rain forest to be a sacred place. If the Gods like Pachamama become offended, a spirit called Duende will come and get you. Duende, it is said, has the power to hide a man in another dimension. Witnesses claimed that between the time Acuna was last seen sitting on his cabin steps and when one of the tour group members went to check on him, was only about five minutes, which means there could be some serious truth to the Duende legend. Acuna testified that he didn’t just walk off into the dense jungle in the impenetrable darkness on his own. He felt that he had been brought there by another force.

Renderings of Duende                    Image Via: Wikipedia and Verreaux Artist

Madidi Park Director Marcos Uzquiano was quoted as saying, “For myself and the rangers, this is our culture. We believe that Duende is real. And we think it’s possible that Maykool was taken by him.”

When local Shamans were called in to assist a hastily assembled search party, they attested that Acuna was far away in a place that could not be reached on foot right away. But that didn’t deter the rescuers who searched for days on end in the relentless heat and humidity. They were just about to give up on the hunt when a single muddy sock was discovered. This humble clue to Acuna’s whereabouts was shown to his stepmother who had just flown in from Chile. She confirmed that it did indeed belong to her stepson.

Image Via: Everythingsoulful.com

Rangers and guides systematically combed multiple kilometers of the rain forest that surrounded the camp. They also forded the rivers in canoes. Not only did they work eight to 10 hours days making a section by section sweep of the area, they performed nightly sacrificial rituals asking Pachamama for her assistance in locating Acuna. While fatalities occur every year in the Madidi rainforest, no one has gone missing in more than 15 years. Oddly enough, Acuna’s disappearance closely mimicked the 1981 disappearance of Israeli tourist, Yossi Ghinsberg, who disappeared in the same area of rain forest for more than three weeks. His travails were recounted in the bestselling book, Back from Tuichi, and a soon to be released movie called, Jungle, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

While the search continued, Acuna was doing his best to stay alive. Every day the monkeys would provide him life-sustaining fruit and lead him to a fresh water source. They would also lead him to shelter so that he could survive the night—that dangerous time when all things in the jungle, good and bad, come alive. But that didn’t stop the never-ending onslaught of ants, mosquitoes, gnats, spiders and other insects from their relentless swarming, stinging, and biting. At one point, Acuna claimed that he went mad, having tossed away his cell phone and flashlight along with his sandals. He began sprinting through the jungle barefoot, until he was sapped of energy.

Image Via: National Geographic

“And after running so much, I stopped under a tree and I started thinking,” Acuna told rescuers later on, “what had I done, what was I doing? And when I wanted to get back, it wasn’t possible.”

When he was finally located on day nine, dehydrated and covered in insect bites, it was determined that Acuna hadn’t strayed more than a mile away from the Max Adventure campground. Although he didn’t know what kind of monkeys were responsible for saving his life (Rosillo, Lucachi, Titi among other monkeys are indigenous to the area), he credited them with his survival. Or perhaps Pachamama believed he’d suffered enough for his sins and allowed him to be rescued.

Whatever was responsible for saving Acuna from a slow, agonizing death inside the unforgiving jungle, in the end, he was just glad to be alive.

The Ten Most Underrated Off-Road Jeep Accessories

When it comes to outfitting my 2012 Oscar Mike edition Jeep Wrangler, I’m an accessories fanatic. When I hit the sheets at night, I don’t dream of sheep, or unicorns, or cuddly puppies. I dream about an Injen deep water snorkel install, or a brand new set of Barricade rivet style flare fenders, or a Garvin Expedition roof rack. I see me behind the wheel of the Jeep, traversing some mud-covered backwoods trail with brand new 40” Mickey Thompson Baja MTZP3 mud terrain tires (mudders) that cost me more than the monthly mortgage. I see a state-of-the-art Magellan eXplorist TRX7 off-road GPS navigation system mounted above the dash and even a Condition Zero center console pistol mount for my Colt .45 Model 1911. I dream about a new soft top and RedRock grille inserts and expensive wheel kits to replace the standard ones I currently use.

But then, these are the glory accessories. The expensive, not-necessarily-required-for-the-four-wheeling-off-road-Jeep-experience gadgets. At the same time, these are useful tools that provide a specific degree of utility, but they are also the tools that look good, feel good, and admittedly, lighten your bank account. They are the accoutrements that turn heads while pulling into the mega-mart parking lot, and that become the envy of your off-road meetup group.

But what about the unsung heroes of the Jeep accessory world? The stuff that isn’t necessarily glamorous when installed and/or stored in your Jeep, but that you absolutely must have if you’re going to venture out into the wild? Recently, the editors at touristdigest.com asked me to come up with the ten most underrated off-road Jeep accessories out there on the market today. Sure I have my own strong opinions on the matter, but in the interest of comprehensiveness, I approached as many Jeep enthusiasts I could muster up and posed the question, “What accessories can you absolutely not survive without?” I also consulted with publications as varied as Popular Mechanics and Outsideonline.com. In the end, this is the final list I came up with.

  1. Shovel. That’s right, your basic shovel. I prefer the military variety that folds in on itself and that you can carry on your rear tire tool mount. Trust me, you play in the mud, you’re gonna eventually have to dig yourself and your Jeep out of it.
  2. The winch. The addition of this accessory is debatable due to its cost, its weight (hard on the gas mileage), and its relative danger in the hands of the inexperienced off-roadster (watch out for cut off digits), but let’s face it, you will get stuck. Get a winch.
  3. Tire changing kit. Most Jeeps come with these tools as a standard accessories, including a wheel lug wrench and a spare tire jack handle. But for my money, I would invest in a roadside emergency repair kit that includes a booster cable, carbon steel cross wrench, emergency lamp with strobe function, insulation tape, and more.
  4. Duct tape. What more need be said?
    Don’t let a whiny friend ruin a trip… With enough duct tape, there’s no problem that can’t be solved!
  5. Automatic tire deflator. Negotiating sand and/or rock means deflating your tires from the street savvy 30 psi to 15 psi or less. An automatic tire deflator screws onto the valve stem and removes as much or as little air as you want. Easy peasy.
  6. Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator. It only makes sense that if your tires are deflated for off-road action, they’re going to require inflation when you finally get back to on-road reality. A small, portable compressor can be powered by your Jeep battery or another 12 volt source.
  7. Cable hoist or come along. Take it from one who knoweth, keep one of these in your onboard tool box. While 4-wheeling in the rugged hills surrounding Chianti in beautiful, central Italy, my buddy and I buried his Jeep in mud. He didn’t have a winch handy, but he did have the less romantic version of the winch on hand—the come along. It took some time and manpower, but we freed the Jeep and soon were enjoying some red wine and roast pork sandwiches in a nearby village.
  8. First aid kit. The one sponsored by Jeep actually attaches to your roll bar. It contains everything from Ibuprofen, to Band-Aids, to the equipment you’ll need to suture a laceration, including medical scissors, stitching material, and surgical tape. Don’t leave home without it.
  9. Zip ties. Yup, you read it right. Zip ties. In fact, zip ties are so popular, I should chuck this writing thing and start a zip tie factory. The 10” variety are the most useful. They can be used for everything from holding engine components together, especially hoses, to hanging packs and bags from the roll bar. I currently use zip ties to consolidate my unplugged electrical wires and conduits after removing the hardtop.
  10. Repurposed ammo boxes. Mine used to hold .50 caliber rounds including tracers. But now they hold all sorts of small tools and accessories like screwdrivers, wrenches, electrical tape, flashlights, batteries, and more. They’re rough and ready, hold a ton of stuff, and they look cool as hell. Use a bicycle lock to secure them to the Jeep interior when the top is off.

Okay, this list is not exhaustive by any means. Other popular non-glam accessories include pliers, mallets, fire extinguisher, basic tool kit, socket wrench set, walkie-talkies, flashlights, freeze dried food pouches, spare batteries, fire making equipment, and additional Geri cans for extra water and fuel. Listen, when it comes to outfitting your Jeep with underrated accessories that are purely utilitarian in nature and that might even save your life one day, there is no right or wrong choice. There is only careful planning.