So said our guide for our hike up Cotopaxi volcano.  The refuge we’d be hiking to is about 15,000 feet in elevation, and apparently chocolate helps combat altitude sickness.  Ok, ok, twist my arm!  Why had no one told me this before?  All this time I could have been eating chocolate guilt-free and claiming altitude sickness?  Now that I’ve been to Ecuador and experienced altitude sickness, I have a feeling that, even though I’m now back in Boston, it’s going to become a chronic ailment for me and I’m going to have no choice but to eat chocolate continuously for the rest of my life.  Think Blue Cross will pay for that?

Anyway, Ira and I were a bit apprehensive about hiking up this volcano given the altitude and our lack of hiking prowess.  But we were told there’d also be a couple 60-something people on the trip so we figured we’d at least have someone else at our fitness level.  (Although then the potential for embarrassment was even worse because of the very high chance they were exceptionally more fit than we were…).  It was a challenging day that in the end was very fun and rewarding.  Below, an illustrated timeline of my emotional journey while climbing Cotopaxi.

Cautious optimism, bolstered by my new hat

Cautious optimism, bolstered by my new hat

mild apprehension

mild apprehension

Severe apprehension

Severe apprehension

Resentment

Resentment

Desperation

Desperation

Dedication

Dedication

Despair

Despair

Disbelief

Disbelief

Amazement

Amazement

Victory!

Victory!

Elation

Elation

Triumph

Triumph

Gratitude--for the food

Gratitude--for the food

Fatigue

Fatigue

Post-nap serenity

Post-nap serenity

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