Sun01252015

News

UPDATED: Missing Los Altos High School student found

UPDATED at 10:20 p.m. Jan. 21: Mountain View Police report that Avendano is safe after being located in Los Angeles County.

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The Mountain View Police Department is looking for 17 year-old Mountain View resident Lizbeth Avendano. Accordin...

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Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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A walk in the clouds: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


Photo By: Courtesy of Mansi Bhatia
Photo Courtesy Of Mansi Bhatia

Los Altos resident Mansi Bhatia and her husband, Brijesh Tripathi, hiked Peru’s 28-mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, arriving at the ruins at sunrise.

Machu Picchu, located in the Andes Mountains in Peru, is a dream destination for many people. It had been on my bucket list for five years before I finally decided to take the plunge.

Four days, three nights; my first camping experience ever; many mosquito bites; a mildly swollen knee; and memories of a lifetime. The Inca Trail is not for the mild-hearted, not only because the 28-mile hike is a challenge even for the fittest, but also because the views, the history, the triumph of the human mind and the strength of the human body are overwhelming.

There were so many emotions brimming in my heart during the course of the hike, but one was dominant: respect for the towering mountains and the strength of the human spirit.

Landing in Cusco, my husband, Brijesh Tripathi, and I allowed ourselves two days to acclimatize to the rarefied air before heading to the “Camino Inka Km 82” sign at an elevation of 8,923 feet to commence our hike.

Ominous clouds threatened rain as we began the approximately 7-mile hike to our first campsite in Ayapata (elevation 10,829 feet). Fifteen other people joined us as we walked a steady, slow pace parallel to the Urubamba River, hiking poles in hand. The first day wasn’t that bad. It was Day 2 everyone feared. On Day 2, we were going to climb 3,000 feet, then descend 2,000, then back up 1,400 feet before finally camping at an elevation of 11,800 feet.

At 13,780 feet, Warmiwanuscca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, was an imposing challenge. But we survived it. And it was well worth the effort when we camped at Chaquicocha, our highest campsite during the hike, in the shadow of two stunning glaciers, with llamas frequenting our tents.

Day 3 was a breeze. After an initial moderately steep hike, we arrived at Puyupatamarca, which offered stunning panoramic views of the valley below. We had entered the Amazon cloud forest: different-colored moss kissing the mountainside, bamboo trees peeking onto the trail, orchids blooming in crevices. We rested after lunch.

Three days in, all our limbs felt numb, but our hearts were brimming with emotion and pride.

Day 4, we awoke at 3:30 a.m., adrenaline rushing through our veins. This was it. Four hours later, we would experience Machu Picchu firsthand. Sitting there, with the first rays of the sun shining down on the 500-year-old site, I felt like a time traveler. I couldn’t imagine how those “little people” could build such a magnificent structure nestled within these imposing mountains. It seemed unfathomable. But one only had to look closely at the architecture to know not only were they a hardworking people, but they were also extremely intelligent.

When you watch TV and hear stories about 1,000 people living in this once-thriving city growing potatoes, maize, sugarcane, beans, peppers and tomatoes, it’s not easy to understand the scale of the operation. We looked like little ants amid those terraces. With more than 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries, Machu Picchu (meaning “Old Mountain” in the Quechua language) was akin to any big city in modern times. Think San Francisco, New York, Boston – sans the ubiquitous traffic.

We learned a great deal about the construction and theories behind the techniques used, and we marveled at the Incas’ knowledge of the equinoxes.

Those four days on the Inca Trail that led us to the ruins of Machu Picchu changed me. Aside from the peace and quiet, I learned to appreciate the human spirit during this trip. With only 500 people permitted to travel the trail every day, this had, indeed, been a privilege.

Mansi Bhatia is a Los Altos resident.

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