After the bike ride of my life, I was actually, honestly, looking forward to the hike.
How could you not look forward to something when this is the beginning? Breathtaking. Absolutely. I started off in high spirits. Giddy almost.
I was finally understanding the experience and excited about taking it all in, checking a major awesome off of my life list and then...then...2 and a half hours passed and we had made almost no progress. Then, I fell. Then, I fell two more times. Then, we started walking straight up. Then, we started walking straight down. Then, I couldn't feel my legs. Then, I couldn't feel my butt. Then, one of our guides told us, "una hora." And two hours passed by and we had another, "trienta minutos." Lies. All lies.
I found a stick because I thought it'd help, but the stick did nothing to get oxygen into my lungs. My lungs felt like they were going to collapse, my legs felt like jello and all I wanted to do was have someone, anyone, come get me. I was stuck. I threw the stick down, then my hiking companions had a little talk and decided one of the guides should take my backpack away from me. Defeat. At its finest. Things only got worse as the last hour of the hike was straight up an 11,000 foot mountain in the Andes.
When we finally reached Chugchillin I begged for my mates to sing the Rocky Theme, unfortunately, Brittain, an Israeli, two teenage Ecuadorians and a 30-year-old resident do not make the best chorus and apparently had little to no knowledge of the theme song and I was stuck singing it to myself as small Ecuadorian school children stared at me.
Victory at its finest.