Over and into the Rainbow Mountain in Peru

The Rainbow Mountain in Peru #travel #traveldestinations #peru

I visited Cusco, Peru nearly two years ago but somehow never heard of the Rainbow Mountains while I was there. These skittle-looking ranges also called Vinicunca, are a three-hour ride outside the Peruvian city. The red, yellow, purple, and greenish hues are a result of leftover mineral deposits from ice sheets that once filled the area. It looks like I'll have to make a second trip so I can hike this!

The Rainbow Mountain in Peru
The Rainbow Mountain in Peru

More info here.

Photos via Getty

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From foam parties to climbing Machu Picchu, my favorite images of the year

Let’s start off with the least significant photo of the year.

I shot the below soap bubble pool party while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.

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Photo by Wells Baum

While it’s my most downloaded photo on Unsplash, the only thing it reminds me of is the period where I was trying to finish up my book. Stuck in writer's block, I remember walking around the hotel looking for inspiration when I heard party music and noticed large bath bubbles floating through the air. The 90s MTV-esque ‘spring break' foam party was the perfect distraction from the agony of the unfinished manuscript.

What’s popular isn’t always what matters

However, my most meaningful photo from this year had to be the time my wife I and walked up Machu Picchu mountain. It was a true test of fitness, a devious mountain that tricked you into thinking the top was always closer than it was. It took an hour to go up and another hour to go down. But when you finished, we got to write our names in the logbook.

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Photo by Wells Baum

Here's a few more…

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Bookends: Red and blue in Cusco

Photo by Wells Baum (Cusco, Peru)

Red used to be the world's “first color,” writes historian Michel Pastoureau in his new book Red: The History of a Color. It was all people knew before blue emerged as a symbolic color in the 12th century.

The red color

It is the basic color of all ancient peoples (and still the color preferred by children the world over). It appears in the earliest artistic representations, the cave paintings of hunter-gatherers 30,000–plus years ago. Blood and fire (the domestication of the latter constituting an important human achievement) were always and everywhere represented by the color red.

Photos by Wells Baum

The blue color

Blue has become associated with peace and tolerance (as in the flag of the U.N. and its peacekeeping forces). In Pastoureau’s telling, blue is the color of consensus, of moderation and centrism. It does not shock, offend, disgust, or make waves; even stating a preference for black, red, or green is a declaration of some sort. Blue invites reverie, but it anaesthetizes thinking. Even white has more symbolic potential.

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Photo by Wells Baum

Read Red versus Blue

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Horse power 

Photo by Wells Baum (Peru)
Trains and tractors made the world less dependent on horse power. As the 19th century came to a close, horses were abundant. Consider this fact:

“In 1900 there were 145,000 horses in the French army and 130,000 horses working in Manhattan, while at the same time in Australia there was one horse to every two humans.”

Horses went from animals that drove economies and conquest to sprinters at the pop of a pistol. This looks like a fascinating read: Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship

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Cusco in wires

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Photo by Wells Baum

Credited with patenting the first telephone, Alexander Graham Bell also foresaw a broader network of interconnected wires. Just because it doesn't exist yet, doesn't mean you can't imagine it.

From the article ‘Only Connect' on Technics History:

…it is conceivable that cables of telephone wires could be laid underground, or suspended overhead, communicating by branch wires with private dwellings, country houses, shops, manufactories, etc., etc., uniting them through the main cable with a central office where the wires could be connected as desired, establishing direct communication between any two places in the city… Not only so, but I believe, in the future, wires will unite the head offices of the Telephone Company in different cities, and a man in one part of the country may communicate by word of mouth with another in a distant place.

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Image by Wells Baum

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