Mushing Through Denali

To say this was one of the best trips I have been on would be an understatement. Other than Peru with Chris, this may have been the best adventure yet! My cousins wanted to go dog mushing while in Alaska. I had no idea what was in store and I am always up for fun activities so I said let’s do it! While driving to our destination, we had to look out for Moose and make sure none were in the road. They are huge animals and can total a car. We arrived at the Earthsong Lodge early in the morning after driving quite a ways. The owner of the Dog Sled Expeditions was amazing and so was his staff. My cousin got paired with the owner, her husband with one of their friends, and I was paired with one of the staff members who now is a guide for Earthsong Lodge. Each person was wonderful and made the experience memorable. We got fitted in our warm clothes we were to wear for the duration of the trip. A giant onesie with a super warm hood, boots, and gloves. After the fitting I needed the restroom and got pointed to the outhouse. I was warned about my bottom possibly sticking to the seat so I was super careful. It did not happen, thank goodness. Using the butt flap on the clothes was quite fun though.

After airing out in the chilly morning, I stepped out of the outhouse and met up with my cousins by the dog houses. They were so small I had no idea how a dog could fit in them but they sure did. The dogs must have been super warm too with how tight their quarters were. These dogs had energy like I have never seen and I have an Australian Cattle Dog (They are nuts with boundless energy!) These dogs, the mushing dogs, wanted to go, go, go, immediately out of the gate. They were chained to their spots and were not let off until they were individually walked to the line they would be attached to. Each dog was jumping and barking with such excitement and joy. All they wanted to do was work and get the job done. It was a sight to see and very interesting to hear. This trip heightened all my senses. The sights, smells, sounds, touch, and then a nice taste of hot chocolate that the owner provided as a surprise on our trail break! All senses activated and rejuvenated. 

We were split up into three sleds. Each one of us had a musher and a different amount of dogs. The leader had the most with my cousin’s husband, she and the owner were next, then I was last with the most relaxed person to mush with. He was, and is, so knowledgeable and kind. I highly recommend booking him as your guide if you are ever in his neck of the woods whilst in Alaska. So much happened on this trip that this blog needs to be separated into two different entries. We were standing around and waiting for the gentlemen, mushers, to get their gear and be ready. This did not take long because they are professional and super on top of everything. After they got us situated in our sled, they took off to get the dogs energy out a bit. While on the trail they explained the commands and told us we would be mushing on that day. We thought we were just riding in the sled, oh no, no…we were going to mush!! Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the rest of the story on Monday!! 

Sled Dog

Have a wonderful start to December everybody. I have been working on ornaments and Christmas orders. The ornaments are below and you can click on the painting to view them individually. Also, if you would like to show support, I recently joined “buy me a coffee” which is a way for anyone to contribute to the creative process behind the paintings. Fuel the artist so to speak. Here is the link if you are interested and I truly appreciate the support and the fact that you are liking these blogs, as well as my art posts. I am working hard to bring you all fresh content! One more bit of news…My Newsletter also went out today and the sign up is on my homepage if you are interested. I have a coupon running for everyone who has signed up. Have a wonderful weekend!

-Karen Hilliard

Lights and Ice

We drove back from the Ice Show listening to music and rolling around in the back of a van, then we were greeted with a Light Show upon our return to the hostel! What an amazing sight to see those lights and that sky in person. Pictures do it justice but the overall experience of standing below them, and looking up, is truly magical. They are unworldly. I felt as if I was standing on another planet or in space. The way the auroras moved and glided through the sky like a river flowing and carving out a canyon, it was breathtaking. On that night we were blessed with green and yellow lights. After staring at them for quite a while, we decided to go back to Billie‘s, grab our cameras, and try to capture the moment. By the time we got back, the lights were very light and fuzzy so we decided to head into town and go to the local bar. We drank, we danced, and we talked all night. Then we walked back to the hostel and enjoyed each other’s company.

The next day, my cousins came back, and I told them about the show.. We all decided to go that night because they wanted to experience it. I thought it would be the same as the night before, and I was wrong. All the sculptures were there that I saw before, but something amazing happened! When the sun fell, and the night came on, the head of the ice show and the workers lit a bonfire inside a giant ice cube. It was such an amazing sight to see. I loved watching the people stand around, looking like shadow figures and the light of the fire going up into the night sky. There were no aurora borealis on this night so this was a whole other light experience. Basically, Alaska was just an experience of lights. Between the aurora borealis, the ice show, and the bonfire we were treated to amazing wonders all around.

My cousins and I walked around and found a little house made out of ice that we sat in and talked for a while at the little table that the artist made. We sat in a ice car and pretended to drive it around. My cousin threw a snowball at her husband. Then they both put their tongues on ice and stared into each others eyes, and we were all grateful that their tongues didn’t get stuck to it like in a Christmas story! Hindsight… Super glad they didn’t get stuck. My cousin did grow up in Utah, in the snow, and took survival training when she was a young girl in high school, so she knows a lot about snow and ice. She wasn’t worried. Then we just walked around and talked and had a great time and that was when the sun was still in the sky. As I said, when the night fell on, the bonfire got lit, we just stood there and stared at it in awe of where we were. Forever grateful for this life and those experiences. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday! I have an ornament collection this year inspired by our Alaska trip. Also, if anyone would like to show support, I have joined ”buy me a coffee” recently where viewers can contribute. This small act of kindness helps keep me motivated and is much appreciated. Here is the link, and Thank you!

-Karen Hilliard

Here are the Christmas Ornaments for 2023! These have motivated me to write about my trip to Alaska, and I hope you enjoy the journey. The link to all my Tundra Collection is HERE!!

The Ice Show

Sculpted Ice is a remarkable sight to see. I was fortunate to have met some amazing people while in Alaska who drove me to a wonderful display of carved ice sculptures. While sitting around the table at Billie’s I heard many of the others talking about the show. My cousins had planned two days snowboarding for some romance and I relaxed back at the hostel. While by myself I met some amazing people and we all piled into a van from one of the staff from Billie’s to head out to the Ice Show. If you are ever in Fairbanks, and the annual show is happening, please go…you will be glad you did..if you dress warm! So after piling in a van with no seats and learning Alaska gives people a break on insurance for broken windshields since it happens regularly, we made it to the show during daylight. I had no idea what was in store as the night fell.

Beautiful lights abound highlighting the sculptures. These were all huge and I felt like I was walking in a winter wonderland. The artists designed the ice by using chainsaws which I found fascinating. During the daylight we got to see one artist finishing up his work before the contest closed. His was a huge scene of Santa, the sled flying through the air, and all of the reindeer. The artist had most of the sculpture completed but we had the pleasure of watching him carve the last two giant blocks of ice. I found it especially interesting watching relief carving since I studied over in Italy when I was younger and saw a ton of marble sculptures and learned about the technique. This however was from chisel to chainsaw and a totally different medium from rock to ice. How did either not crack? Fascinating!! I wish I could find my photograph of that specific sculpture but am happy my mind remembers it.

Soulful Wanderer• Watercolor Portrait • Karen Hilliard Art
“Soulful Wanderer” from the Fairbanks Ice Show in Alaska

Another sculpture I loved was a giant wine glass tilted on its side with wine pouring out of it into the shape of a wave. The lights behind it were red and just really brought this piece to life. All I thought was how I wanted my cousin to see it so I decided I had to go back another night. While with my new friends, I took an amazing picture of one of them. My camera exposure was not set correctly for all the lights and his face got a little distorted and pulled by the beautiful colors. I wanted to print the photo and paint it when I returned home. This painting is titled, “Soulful Wanderer” because this person travels a lot! He is filled with love and light and just truly enjoys every moment he is in. Originally from Argentina and residing currently in France, combined with his love of traveling, had me really wanting to show emphasis on his camera strap. He loves his Nikon and taking photographs. He also loves to dance so I wanted to represent that jovial energy and movement in this painting. This is an Original Watercolor with no Prints made, and it is available. The link is under the painting. I hope you like it and I will share more about that night and other sculptures in my next blog. It was an amazing show! As for now, thank you for reading and happy Monday. If you would like to show support I have joined ”buy me a coffee” recently where viewers can contribute. This small act of kindness helps keep me motivated and is much appreciated. Here is the link, and Thank you!

-Karen Hilliard

Here are the Christmas Ornaments for 2023! These have inspired me to write about my trip to Alaska, and I hope you enjoy the journey. The link to all my Tundra Collection is HERE!!

Chasing Lights

Sitting around the kitchen table late at night and into the early morning became our daily routine while in Alaska. My cousin, her husband, and I arrived in Fairbanks and had scheduled ten days total for our trip. We were hoping to see the lights either in Fairbanks or at the North Pole; we were fortunate to see them in both places and for five out of the ten nights we were there. As we sat around the table at Billie’s Backpacker Hostel chatting with others about the best times to see the lights, we were also discussing cameras. Everyone was sharing information about lenses, apertures, how their cameras did in different temperatures and how the atmosphere would affect them. Luckily, I met an amazing person who helped me with my camera and timing. Because of him we were able to come home with some very nice pictures to go with our memories. 

As the PM was slowly turning into AM, we all piled in a van and headed to the spot on a hill where everyone said the best place to see the lights would be.  And…it was. The lights filled the sky with greens, and yellow hues, and were dancing across it with such a vibrant movement. It was amazing to watch them go from thick to thin and wispy. They were strong and powerful, full, and then quickly thinned out and flowed like a river winding through a canyon. We all just stood there in complete awe and wonder. Some of us already had cameras out and were clicking away. My cousins and I were just captivated and standing still with smiles on our faces. I realized I needed a tripod so we waited until the next night to take pictures and just decided to enjoy the moment. Sean Penn said it best in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty about how some moments aren’t meant to be captured, but enjoyed.

We stood for what felt like hours and then piled back into the van. The next time we went out I was able to borrow a tripod from another nice person at the hostel. Billie’s truly is a magical place and I cannot rave about it, or her enough. As we went out, the temperature was dropping fast and I was able to get some amazing shots before my camera froze. I did not know that could happen. I always imagined the photographers with their giant lenses taking photographs of polar bears in the arctic and National Geographic photographers taking pictures swimming in frigid water, therefore thinking everything would be fine. My little Canon Rebel and I learned a different lesson that night. My camera probably knew it would happen and thought, hey lady, put a sweater on me, but I had no idea. Learning. Nonetheless, we went home with wonderful photographed memories. Other people had fancy cameras and I asked my cousins if they wanted pictures like that where the sky looked like the Milky Way. Her husband, my cousin, said, “Nope. I want it to look like how we saw it when we were here. I cannot see that purple sky and all those stars with my own eyes so I like how your pictures look. How we really see it.” In that moment I realized we captured the true moment of enjoyment. It was pretty awesome! Thank you for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday! 

-Karen Hilliard

Here are the Christmas Ornaments for 2023! These have inspired me to write about my trip to Alaska, and I hope you enjoy the journey. The link to all my Chilly Wonderland Collection is HERE!!

Off to Fairbanks!

A few years before meeting Chris, I had the opportunity to travel to Alaska. I was living with my best friend, who is also my cousin, at the time. She researched when the best time to see the Aurora Borealis was and found out March was a great month to try. This also happened to be her birthday month so we were pretty excited. She came to me and said, “Do you want to go to Alaska to see the Northern Lights? Bill Nye the Science guy is taking a team of people there in March so the lights must be beautiful that time of year. I replied sure! We thought, if Bill Nye said so, it should happen, right? Why would he go to try and film a show if there was a chance it may not work out? So, we saved and then booked our trip to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Getting to Fairbanks was quite a journey. We left out of Las Vegas and instead of flying direct to Anchorage, we ended up going to one of the other States first with a long layover. We slept in the airport for quite a long time, or tried to, it was freezing! Her husband, who was her boyfriend at the time, ended up walking around to stay warm. This was a much better idea than trying to sleep on uncomfortable seats. After the long wait, it was off to Anchorage, Alaska for our next layover.We had so many stops because we took the cheapest flights possible and ended up taking a day from our trip. We didn’t mind at all because we needed our funds for when we were there. I never had planned anything for my trips before and this trip changed all of that. My cousin loves making itineraries and budgeting for things we want to do. It was very nice and relaxing with a lot of wiggle room for new adventures. She taught me how to have fun by making tentative plans.

My favorite part of the trip was the dog mushing through Denali National Forest Area. I will save that for another blog. Alaska deserves a few, if not several blogs!! It truly was one of the best times of my life. For now, I will write about arriving in Fairbanks, and Billie’s Backpacker Hostel. If you ever go to Fairbanks…Please stay at Billie’s. You will not be disappointed. She, and her staff, make everyone feel like family. There are rooms upstairs and a communal kitchen downstairs. Everyone ends up in the kitchen really late at night discussing when to catch the lights. We felt like storm chasers at times. This hostel is so warm and welcoming that anyone who arrives becomes a friend. I still talk to the people I met there and we were only there less than a week. Highly Recommend! We had our rooms reserved and when we got there some other people showed up. Billie only had the heated garage available for them but her maintenance man and friend slept there with his dog. These people were afraid of dogs so we said we would swap our room for the garage. Billie was very appreciative and everyone ended up happy. The dog was awesome by the way. Wednesday I will tell you about our first time seeing the lights. In it then, have a great Monday, and thank you for reading!

-Karen Hilliard

Here are the Christmas Ornaments for 2023! These have inspired me to write about my trip to Alaska and I hope you enjoy the journey. The link to all my Chilly Wonderland Collection is HERE!!

Goodbye Peru, it’s Been Grand!

We arrived back at the EcoPackers Hostel and decided to take one more romp around Cusco to find our mate gourd. On the first day we found the perfect gourd in a tiny shop but wanted to wait until we did our larger shopping for everyone. Then, we could not find it!! We looked everywhere and down every alleyway. We wanted to give it one more go and put the effort in before we headed to the airport in the morning. Luckily, we found it!! This gourd was super beautiful and hand carved, still is to this day. We take great care of it. The carving is of Machu Picchu, and three animals representing Cusco and the Inca people. They are the serpent, the condor, and the puma to represent the Inca civilization and the realms of the living and the dead. The words carved on the gourd read “Machu Picchu.”

As we looked at this treasure we reminisced about the Inca Trail, the ruins, llamas, and overall amazing experiences we shared. We went back to the hostel to pack and get ready to leave in the morning. Two people were in the room where we slept talking about Rainbow Mountains and how they bought their own oxygen, rode the horses up, and still had to come back to Cusco without seeing the mountains. They planned to go back the next day. Chris and I just looked at each other and smiled with pure joy that we saw them and a hint of achievement that we always persevere. We both talk about how it is the athlete in us that will power through. One thing we both liked about sports growing up was the discipline and drive it takes to power the body and mind. I am grateful for the discipline and determination because I think it carried over into my art career. Writing these blogs three times a week, painting, and staying up with social media has been challenging at times. Just like the trip up the mountain, persistence weighs out in the end. We both were ecstatic to get under the warm blankets, lay flat, and drift off to slumberland.

Karen Hilliard Art Blog

When we woke up, we slowly got ready, ate breakfast the hostel provided, and got in our taxi to head back to the States. Our taxi drove us for a while, twisting and turning down side streets, and we were quite concerned. Then we saw a hug protest going on. We found out all the teachers were on strike and the cab pulled over to the side of the road. He could not get through and motioned to us to take our bags and walk to the airport terminal. We were going to miss our flight if we did not listen right then and there. Chris grabbed both our large bags and I grabbed both the small backpacks and two carry-on blankets. We hoofed it and made it just in time for our flight. We were super thankful! I was so impressed with Chris, yet again, due to his strength with both bags in his hands, agility through protesters, sanity to not complain, and just got the task done! Overall, this trip was beyond interesting. We flew from Cusco to Lima and had a layover. This is where we ran into Miguel, the artist again. What a crazy ride this trip had been. There is so much more with the flights I would love to share. If you are interested, send me an email. Next week I will be writing about my trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights, Auroras. This will go with my recent collection of 2023 Christmas Ornaments.

Have a safe and happy weekend and thank you for reading!

-Karen Hilliard 

Back to the Buses!

The sky started to change as the snow rolled in over the mountains. Our guide was hustling around telling people to head back down to the buses and herding everyone in groups to make sure no one was left behind. Chris and I took a moment, looked at each other, closed our eyes, and breathed in the cool mountain air. As we opened our eyes, we said goodbye to the beautiful rainbows ahead of us and started walking back toward the buses feeling forever grateful to have experienced such a wonder. These mountains had just been recently discovered when we visited in 2017 due to glacial melt and no one knew they existed. The exact date of discovery is unknown yet some say it may have been sometime between 2012 to 2015. We were blessed to have seen them near the beginning of the hype. As you can see in our photos from my Rainbow Mountains blog…there were a lot of people. I wonder if there are even more traveling there today.

As we walked back, we reflected on how fortunate we were to get the pictures of each other in front of the mountain. The snow came in quickly and we had already changed into our snow attire. I was so happy to have had my gloves because my hands get super cold. As an artist, I am very protective of my hands and fingers. We walked back at a faster pace due to the wonderful down hill gradient. I got to really look around and enjoy the things I missed on the way up. I saw men and women resting their horses and chatting with one another. We spied some more llamas grazing on the mountain in the distance. We counted how long it was until we came upon tree growth again. So many people were still traveling up the mountain and the horses were still working very hard to get them there. After an hour we came to the parking lot where the buses were and were thankful to finally sit down. The taxi was super tiny so we were happy to have really tall seats to sit in.

This did not last long! We were told to get off the bus and that we were on the wrong one. We looked at each other and thought, oh no, we are going to get left again. Chris told the guide no, we are staying on until you tell us where to go and we see our name on a clipboard. So after much discussion we were rerouted to another bus and that was not the right one either. At this point Chris was super frustrated, and we just wanted to make sure we would get back to Cusco. Just as Goldilocks needed a third time for everything in her world, we headed to the third bus. We sat, held hands, and fell asleep. The driver had been going for about an hour when we were suddenly startled awake. A woman started shouting “Chris and Karen are you on the bus?” over and over. Then, we woke up and said, yes! Then the bus started again and we were just shocked. What if we were not on that bus and why did they not check before we left? We just realized, this tourist attraction was so new at the time that they must have been working the kinks out. Any advice I could give you fellow travelers is…check the clipboard and don’t let any buses leave until you find your name!

Karen Hilliard Art Blog
Photo Taken at the end of our hike before we got back on our bus.

Thank you for reading and happy Wednesday!

-Karen Hilliard

Rainbow Mountains

The air was crisp and thin at the start of our hike to heaven. The buses were all parked and guides were scurrying about gathering all their clients like mother hens. Each guide broke the tourists into groups and went on to get to the top of the mountain. Since we arrived so late, our guide told us we had to be back on the bus soon so we only had a few hours at the top. We new that time was of the essence and we had to hoof it! This being said….our guide took off…with the oxygen. I have never used it in my life or needed it hiking in Colorado, so I wasn’t worried, just a little nervous, and very aware to watch my breathing. The whole hike was a slow incline up the mountain. We packed both our bags with our thermals, fleece, and rain/windbreaker jackets. We also brought our snow gloves in case it snowed and jackets too. Well, we needed everything, okay…here we go!

We followed the herds of people from the parking lot and walked at a steady pace talking the whole way. Many people decided they were done walking and took rides on the horses offered. Men and women who lived nearby brought their horses and rode the tourists up the mountain while they walked on foot leading the way. Then, they would run down to catch their next fare, and they were all in sandals!! Impressive stamina. My goal was to not take a ride on the horse, not out of stubborness, I just felt the horses could use a rest. They looked super overworked. So on we walked and many people stopped to ask me if I wanted a ride in their horse. Chris was wonderful and ended up carrying my pack too, which I gave reluctantly. I didn’t want him to strain himself but he is super strong, and I am very grateful. I had to stop several times near the end and Chris noticed the trees stopped growing the higher up we were.

A lack of oxygen for the trees to grow was an interesting discovery. Seeing herds of llamas grading was quite enjoyable as well. The whole hike to the top was sunny and amazing. We reached the final hill and I was so excited. Chris looked at me and asked if I was okay and I said let’s do this! About 10-20 feet from the top I sat down and he sat with me. It was an insane feeling of helplessness. I literally had to go inside my mind and calm down the fear of not being able to breathe. I sat for what felt like forever which was a minute in reality and then took Chris’s hand to hold the whole way up. We did it! Success! Chris struggled breathing too and really held it together by staying calm. Our guide met us at the top and we told him about the asthma and he offered the oxygen. I figured since I made it, I didn’t need to put my mouth in something everyone used. We said thank you but we are okay. He replied we had 10 minutes to enjoy and head back down. We made it to the top in an hour and 41 minutes and thought we had more time. Surrounded by the beauty of the mountain, we just looked at each other, smiled, and relished in every second.

Rainbow Mountains. Peru Series Number 5

We took a ton of photos, well, as much as we could in the time frame. Then we changed into our snow clothes because the snow came in. On the way down it did get sunny and we did shed the clothing back to our original attire. This wonder is a must see if you are ever in Peru and near Cusco! We highly recommend it. I just wanted you all to know about the breathing factor…so you can be prepared. Everything was worth it to see these mountains. Everything!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a happy, and safe, weekend!

-Karen Hilliard

The Road to Heaven

Today we are going on a trip in our imaginations  to a place that felt like heaven. This place, Rainbow Mountains, exists and can be visited in actual time, readers, you just have to tap into your mind right now to view it from our perspective and memories. Getting to the slice of heaven was a feat in itself. Chris and I signed up for this trip back in America months before we left for Peru. We had a 3am pick up at the local church that did not go according to schedule. We woke up at 2:15 and got ready, walked to the church, and waited. We chatted with a nice fellow and then the busses arrived. They did not call our name so we asked the lady with the clipboard if we were in it and she said no. So we waited for another bus to come. For future reference in this story, this lady was in fact, one of our guides. The nice gentleman we chatted with was also, in our group. So we waited….

Rainbow Mountains. Peru Series Number 5

We saw a man in bottomless chaps who peed on the outside of the church in a drunken state. We saw a mariachi band leaving a club and singing on the streets of Cusco. What we did not see, was another bus. We both had a feeling to walk back to the hostel after 45 minutes of waiting. When we arrived at the hostel, the front desk person told us the bus went there to pick us up. We thought we messed everything up. The person at the desk called the company and said he bus would come back to get us. An hour later, no bus arrived. We were flying back to the States the next morning and the person at the front desk tried to reschedule our trip with one of their companies but we did not have time. So, they called the company we designed up with again and a taxi was sent for us. I just kept feeling like we would see the place from the pictures and I felt there was nothing to worry about. Chris went to use the bathroom and the driver arrived.

Karen Hilliard Art Blog
More pictures of the hike to come on Friday!!

We loaded in a tiny car, small for our 6 foot selves, but we fit laying down a bit. We were driven at a very fast pace for over an hour and the man stopped at where we were supposed to have free breakfast. Nothing was left of course, understandable, and we told him there was no need to stop, but he insisted because we paid for it. We used the bathroom which was outside on a hill and had a hole in the ground. It was nice and clean and had a ceramic piece where your feet go surrounding the hole. The people made us a quick plate, we felt bad, and on we went to drive up the mountain. When we arrived, our group guide was waiting. We entered at the sign and he took off with the oxygen. We signed up to have oxygen in case I needed it since it was 16,000 feet. We got nervous because days before our trip, two people at the hostel were telling stories of how they could not breathe, tried riding the horses, and had to go back to Cusco without seeing Rainbow Mountains due to no oxygen. So we signed up for it. I will write about heaven, that is the mountain, in Friday’s blog. I ran out of time…but luckily, not out of oxygen! Stay tuned for the rest of our story.

-Karen Hilliard

Giant Stones of Sacsayhuaman

Chris wanted to see the giant stones of Sacsayhuaman. He found out about the ruins while in Peru and how the people brought huge boulders to create the fortress. He was so curious about how they could’ve possibly done this, perhaps like the pyramids in Egypt? So we decided to trek out to find them, and of course, in Cusco, everything goes up! We walked for what felt like miles to get to the top of the city. Upon reaching the ruins, beautiful stones and wide open space, we were practicing saying the name…..Sacsayhuaman. It has been said as “sexy woman” in English to help tourists pronounce it. However, these are the ruins of the Cusco people. The stones of the protective fortress are still standing and can be visited today.

These stones weigh in the tons, hundreds of tons, and it seems improbable for how they could have been moved into place? The history behind the fortress is fascinating yet unfortunately involves war, power, and the need for land expansion…an issue we sadly still have today. The ruler at the time, Pachacutec, wanted the whole area designed in the shape of a Puma. He remained in power protecting Cusco for decades and the entire structure was finished after his death. The site was used for protection, political control, and religious ceremonies. The stones were carried by the people of Cusco, 10 to 20 miles, over a very rocky and uneven terrain. Many lives were lost in the process to build such a structure; just like any man made archaeological wonder throughout history, such as the Great Wall of China or the pyramids of Giza. This place was eventually conquered by the Spanish in the 1500s. The stones were slowly dismantled over time and in the 1900s were seen as a site to be protected.

Karen Hilliard Art | Sacsayhuaman

Chris was fascinated by the mystery and beauty of the stones. I was fascinated by the culture, the people, and the history behind them. Both of us discussed how the stones may have got there in length. Even on the backs of many men…how did they do it?! Any ideas? Please leave them in the comments. Here are a few pictures of us walking around the ruins and exploring. This is a must see if you ever get a chance to go to Cusco. Such a beautiful city and filled with so much history. I hope you had a marvelous Monday. I have been busy making Christmas Ornaments and filling orders. So…have a terrific Tuesday and thank you for reading!

-Karen Hilliard