A Rainbow Of A Moment

By Shelby DeCusati, Girls Who Hike Georgia Ambassador

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This is a rainbow of a moment. It captures a journey and my highest ascent yet. The colors and mountainscape 17,060 ft up may be lovely, but it doesn’t quite capture the entire picture. You see, photos can display magnificent moments and not always tell the whole truth.

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This entire year I had been training for endurance and stamina to complete hikes of this elevation in Peru. Throughout the week backpacking along the Salkantay Trail I was able to build upon elevation in hopes that I could complete this hike. I never felt completely confident that it would happen though.

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Weather can be extremely unpredictable and harsh at such elevation. As I reached 16,500 ft I noticed the summit was completely covered with snow and ice. A storm had just passed through over night. Police had blocked off the area deeming it too dangerous. I saw at least 5 hikers slip down the mountain. Mama Sherpa, my guide reassured officials that I had a dream and would be making it to the top of the mountain. I was the last person to summit the top that day.

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As we made our way towards the summit, my entire body seemed to be trembling. Mama Sherpa held my hand the entire way up coaching my steps and strength. Tears were pouring down my face; tears of happiness and tears because I was completely and utterly terrified. When I reached the peak it’s like I could feel the colors of the mountains and for the first time experiencing what it felt like to climb to such great heights. With 14 degrees and 30-40 mph winds later... I can assure you I did not blow off the mountain or freeze, even though it may have felt like it. What I will tell you is that this was one of the most powerful moments of my life and one that will last a lifetime. This is a time I experienced a full rainbow of a moment.

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Shelby is the Ambassador for our Georgia chapter. You can join her local meet ups and discussions through Girls Who Hike Georgia by clicking here.

Shelby trekked to Machu Picchu with our favorite team of kickass women, WHOA Travel. Don't forget- Girls Who Hike Members get a 10% discount on all excursions with WHOA travel! This trek to Rainbow Mountain was led by Mountain Gods Peru.