A few years ago I did a multi-day trek to Machu Picchu through the Andes Mountains . We began with an easy half-day hike with less than a 1,000 foot rise in elevation in order to get acclimated to the high altitude. The following day we did a little longer and steeper hike to a glacial lake (see 11-07-2011 photo of the day) in preparation for the big hike the following day. As we started off towards our more than 2,500 foot climb to reach the Salkantay Pass, we had beautiful weather. Lucky for us the weather held out and even though it was a little cloudy and windy at the 15,253 pass, you could not have asked for a better day. For someone who lives in South Florida, where the floor elevation of my house is 6 feet above sea level, 15,253 feet is as high as I have ever been and this is really high. It was exhausting and important to stop frequently to catch your breath and stay well hydrated; you felt like you would never make it to the top. But once you did, it was a great feeling of accomplishment to be on top.