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Once hikers arrive at the "sun gate," they get their first glimpse of Machu Picchu from above. Vern Loehr said pictures don't do the panoramic scene justice.

Above the clouds: Trekker quest continues despite extreme challenges

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After hiking to the base camp of Mount Everest in 2011, Vern Loehr claimed he'd had enough of his wild adventures. He tore up his "bucket list" of things he'd like to accomplish in his life and vowed to keep his feet on more level ground.

"I was in church three weeks later and I changed my mind," he said with a laugh. "It took me just three weeks to forget all the unpleasant stuff from my trip ... the stuff that wasn't fun."

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