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Hobbits, Mountains and the Real Bad-Ass

I have, at last met the Real Baddest Ass on the planet. Some of you may know that I am, admittedly, a little obsessed with being a bad-ass. Well, I have found him, or her, the boldest Baddest Ass on the planet lives in the Colca Canyon and looks like this.

Do you see him? That tiny speck in front of the mountains. That is the mule that was standing in the middle of our path on the longest day of hiking in all of my life.

Do you also see the amazing backdrop of the mountains behind the Bad-Ass? Yes, you see the mountains? Oh good. Does anyone else think that those mountains are epic enough to be featured in the upcoming hobbit movie? Peter Jackson, bring your dragons, trolls and elves to Peru, you won't regret it.

I felt like I was walking through the mountains of New Zealand with all of my friends; Aragorn, Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and company, which meant that I was thinking a lot about Lord of the Rings while we were hiking through the Colca Canyon.

Here is a sampling of what happens when you get an idea in your head in the beginning of a hiking trip. It's kind of like having a song in your head that you wake up singing every day, you can't seem to shake it.

-Gosh, this really looks a lot like something from the Lord of the Rings movies, the snow covered mountains, the rugged volcanoes, the rivers...

-Hmmm, why don't you ever see the armpits of any of the girls in those movies? Do elven women shave, or do they just always wear long sleeves? What about Eowen? She's human. Does her skin ever peel?

-We kind of look like Uruk hai coming down these hills, the squat set of our legs, the grunting.

-That's it, I want to be an elf. They don't have to sleep, they don't mind the cold, they like eating bread all the time, and they stand around looking at the stars and being wise.

-If we were in a Lord of the Rings spoof movie, what would the title be? The Fellowship of the Bling, The Two Toilets, The Return of the Hot Water? (terrible, I know)

Yes, I did read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, and go to the midnight showings of the movies when I was in High School. And I am not ashamed.

The point is that adventures are great, but they are also challenging. In the challenge you are engaged soul, mind, and body. A real-life Adventure is both good and bad. It is dust in your  mouth and holding babies. It is whiplash from sitting in the back of a cattle truck for 4 hours. It is thousands of stars, and a cold so fierce it hurts to breath. It's going a whole week without a shower and realizing that you don't NEED any of the stuff you have to enjoy life. It is watching the Quechua speaking grandmothers eat roasted marsh mellows for the first time. It is the sibling-like bickering that comes from 13 people sleeping in the same room, on the floor, for two weeks.

It is meeting the Real Bad-Ass, and laughing to yourself.

Most of all, real adventures are full of real people; the laughter, tears and messy bits all in one. If your mind, body and soul are all engaged in something, than you are living a real life adventure too. Merry and Pippin would be proud.

So, go get em tiger, uhhhh, I mean Frodo.


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