We have repeated the proverb "this too shall pass" during both trying times such as battling the evil Patagonian horseflies and during invigorating times such as blazing our own trail by swimming across a lake in Lanin National Park. We were recently reminded of the proverb's significance by a fellow traveler who enlightened us with its history as a Jewish proverb - that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary.
We kicked off our time here in Peru with a high-altitude punch of three gargantuan passes over a five-day circuit around the powerful Ausangate peak. On the third day as we embarked up the circuit's daunting Palomani Pass (peaking at over 17,000 feet), we exclaimed the proverb aloud as if to say, "we will make it over this darn pass!" Almost simultaneously, we were overcome with a serendipitous feeling of being so fortunate to experience the pass on that day. As we looked ahead to the multiple false peaks of the pass, we sensed the hanging glacier falling over the black cliffs to our left, the soft lines of the dune-like mountains to our right... and when we stopped to catch our breath, control our heartbeat, or regain our balance, we'd peer backward at a lone red mountain with another mountain's sharp black spires peaking out from behind it. In this sense, the proverb evolved to, "always remember feeling this alive".