Last weekend our class went to the Atacama Desert. The most memorable experience was our visit to the Valle de la Luna to watch the sunset. We drove to a lookout point that had an impressive view of the mountains and the sunset. As soon as I got off the bus, I walked as far away from the crowds taking selfies as I could. I headed up a hill to my right, only to realize that the stretch of land behind it was a runway leading directly into the sun. I took that path until there was no one left between me and the sun, until the sound of the crowd was nothing more than a distant murmur. I sat on the edge of a cliff (I can’t believe I can say that). It was an overwhelming sensorial experience. I could hear the sound of the wind racing through the cracks and valleys below me. As I watched the sun go to rest behind the hills to my right, the color of the atmosphere and the mountains to my left mimicked a moving gradient going from bright orange to deep blue. The air was thin and there was no hint of any manufactured smelled. It smelled like absolutely nothing. I worried about the sturdy rocks below me. I threw stones over the side of the cliff and waited to hear them hit the ground. It took an uncomfortable amount of time for their echo to call back to me.
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