On a high at the end of the trail

PUBLISHED: 13:01 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2010

Stephanie Gochin is on top of the world after completing the Inca Trail at Macchu Picchu

Stephanie Gochin is on top of the world after completing the Inca Trail at Macchu Picchu

WITH the magnificent Macchu Picchu in the background, a smiling Stephanie Gochin shows how she fared on a sky-high adventure. The 25-year-old from Stevenage did indeed survive the Inca Trail and in the process raised over £2,000 for charity. After months

WITH the magnificent Macchu Picchu in the background, a smiling Stephanie Gochin shows how she fared on a sky-high adventure.

The 25-year-old from Stevenage did indeed survive the Inca Trail and in the process raised over £2,000 for charity.

After months of training, Stephanie set off on Charity Challenge's Explore the Inca Trail in Peru for the charity of her choice, the Willow Foundation, which provides special days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40.

Back home in lowland Herts, she said: "I thoroughly enjoyed the whole challenge. Every day I had a massive grin on my face because I was really excited - even at the thought of an eight-hour hike!

"The best part was getting to experience an amazing journey with a great bunch of people. We all got on really well, even though we were of various hiking abilities."

The trek saw Stephanie hiking through mountain jungles at altitudes reaching over 4,000 metres, arriving 10 days later in the ancient ruined city of the Incas.

She said: "Reaching Macchu Picchu brought a strange mixture of feelings because for so long now I have wanted to see it - it really did look exactly like it does in all the photos.

"I felt relieved and elated to be at such a grand and magnificent site but I was also sad because I knew that the tour was over and the next day I would be on my way home from this beautiful land and I would have to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I had met."

Stephanie's preparation for the monster hike included endurance training in the Arctic conditions of Lapland, where she worked as a chalet manager during the winter months.

She is now in France, working as a campsite manager on the west coast for the summer season. Her philosophy is: "Life is an experience so I am enjoying it while I can!"

Stephanie said: "I want to say a big thank you to all the people who sponsored me, and my mum, dad, boyfriend and my family for all their support and help."

She wanted to support a locally based charity and chose the Willow Foundation because she felt it was great that there was an organisation providing special days for young adults.

The Willow Foundation was founded by former Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper Bob Wilson and his wife Megs after the death of their daughter, Anna, from cancer at the age of 31.

Bob Wilson said "We are extremely grateful for the tremendous effort that Stephanie has put in to raising money for Willow and I am glad she had such an enjoyable experience.

"The funds she has raised will enable the Willow Foundation to provide more special days for seriously ill young adults in the UK."

If you would like to contribute to Stephanie's fundraising for Willow visit www.justgiving. com/stephaniegochin

For further information about the Willow Foundation call 01707 259 777 or visit the website www.willow foundation.org.uk

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