Silent waters run deep

May 2003. My trail guide, Roberto, gave me a warm hug and hearty congratulations before I boarded my train at Aguas Calientes. It would be a long ride back to Cuzco, but fond memories of my trek on the Inca Trail would keep me company. I just completed the 54-kilometer hike over three days, on …

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The orchid trail

May 2003. Roberto leafed through the pages of his pocket-sized book. “There!” he smiled. He showed me the page and pointed at a color photograph of a flower that resembled one that drooped knee-high in front of us. “It’s a lady’s slipper orchid, genus Phragmipedium of the subfamily Cypripedioideae. The pouch is meant to lure …

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The accidental mule

May 2003. I searched for my luggage on the carousel at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. There was a gentle nudge on my daypack that hung limply from my right shoulder. It was a German Shepherd sniffing at it. When I looked up and recognized the uniformed man holding the leash, I realized that I was …

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