After two days of high altitude hiking, we finally came up on a relatively new found Peruvian landscape called Rainbow Mountain. The hike was riddled with altitude sickness, pounding headaches, food poisoning and heavenly vistas. At times, I just could not get over how crippling a few meters of steps left me out of breath and energy. In fact at one point, the guide laid down on a big rock to nap a few minutes away while my companion and I fought the elevated trail ahead in slow motion. Originally, I elected to take the two day hike to see other Andes features such as Ausangate Mountain and Glacier as well as Ananata Peak a.k.a. base camp. But it was worth it as the unbelievable striated color mountain finally appeared in the distance ahead of the second day. Standing over 15K feet, this world class visual experience begged to be viewed in full panoramic exhilaration. Just how this stretch of mountainous peaks attained these colors leaves you scratching your head. I understand from previous pictures that I squinted at in the brochures and on social media, that minerals were to blame, but as a landscape photographer, I have seen countless landscapes above and below ground made of “minerals” of every type... but this was simply a location on Earth to marvel. And interestingly, Rainbow Mountain is a relatively new find - that is to say global climate change melted the snow that used to almost permantetly diguise this acropoliptic wonder, now leaving it exposed and in danger to new relentless travel crowds.
By the time I caught my breath and set up my gear, the mid-morning sun was perfectly behind me - lighting up all the colors and features with hardly any shadow. Along with clear and airy skies, Rainbow Mountain was a once-in-a-lifetime photographic opportunity I’ll never forget.