By Suzanne Vilchez

Photo by Maria Coello

I went to Peru for the holidays with my mother, visiting friends and family in Miraflores, Lima. My goal for this trip was to visit Machu Picchu and connect to my cultural heritage. I am a first generation Peruvian-American and was weaned on my dad’s tales of life on the sierra and Andean folklore.

I had no idea how I would do it, being a C6 quad, but it has been done by others with disabilities and that was good enough. The tour operator assured me they had experience and could accommodate me, so I took a chance. Apumayo Expeditions is recognized by the Society for Accessible Tourism and Hospitality, so I wasn’t concerned about their legitimacy.

When my mother asked me about the details of “how,” flashbacks of winter vacation at Wilderness Inquiry II came to mind. There I wore a pair of rock climbing harnesses on my upper and lower body, was attached to a pulley-like apparatus and was pushed off a platform to swing across a ravine at the height of many treetops. I figured it couldn’t be any riskier and trusted the details to experts.

There is no accessible public transportation