We had been climbing for days now, so far and high it seemed I should be able to reach up and touch the kingdom of the heavens. Why, then, did Inti, God of the Sun, not take pity and warm me? Was I not his chosen one, marked from birth as his future bride? Could he not spare even a smidgen of his almighty warmth for me now, one short day before we were to be wed? Icy wind bit through my clothing and deep into my bones. I shivered and pulled my shawl tighter but as Inti made his way closer to his nightly bed, it grew colder still.
A daughter of the red desert in the distance far below, still baking in the summer's heat, snow was new to me. I had marveled over it and crunched icy crystals, delighting in its purity. That seemed ages ago: snow had long since lost its charm. Instead my eyes lingered on gashes in the earth where fuming water spurted, sullying the air with the stench of rotten eggs and staining the rubble orange and poison green. Could the trail to the heavenly Kingdom be so foul? But white stones marked the edges of the trail: there was no mistaking it. Above, the sky was the bluest I had ever seen--the color of the eyes of Inti. Was he looking down on me now? For just a moment I felt his pull. And so I continued, slowly, ever higher on my journey up Llullaillaco.