When you travel at elevations above 10,000 feet the rarity of the atmosphere becomes obvious. You walk slower and breathe hard and deep. Our exploration often takes us above 16,000 feet. Going from sea level to this altitude can hammer your senses. To function, we took the advice from those who live and work there. A main staple, and sacred throughout the Andes, the Coca leaf eliminates the nausea, headaches and weak feeling so common to those who travels through this incredibly high elevation. Within a few minutes you feel normal, can breathe easily and the intense fatigue has passed. The use of Coca during these high ascents is invaluable.
In this clip, Kathy teaches the correct way to chew Coca leaves. To her surprise, the taxi driver knows a few tricks as well!