Introduction

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to hike Peru’s Salkantay trail that ends at the famed ruins of Machu Picchu. The five-day pilgrimage led my fellow travelers and me past snow-capped mountains, through lush rain forests, and across the raging Urubamba River. The path summits at 15,500 feet above sea level (4,724.4 meters). At the time, I was in my early 40s, so I was one of the oldest people in our group of mostly 20-something college students. Where they seemed to effortlessly skip like young mountain goats across the rocks and gorges on our path, I staggered and plodded along, gasping for breath. Our ...

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