Andean Trekking

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
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Trip End Apr 25, 2011


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Where I stayed
El Jacal

Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our first main stop in Peru, Huaraz, is in one of the highest regions of the Andes in all South America, with the most number of peaks above 6000m. Due to this fact we were again expecting cold weather but we had a week of cloudless blue skies and have been able to bring out the shorts. We spent a couple of days relaxing in the town with the standard well kept plaza and markets. We have seen a change in the street food available which is a bonus. The Santa Cruz 4 day trek across the Andes is supposed to be one of the most beautiful so we opted for this. It would have been nice to do on our own but without tents etc and an uncanny ability to get lost, we joined up with a tour company.
To our surprise there were 13 people on our trek, a few more than the six that there were supposed to be, however it actually worked quite well and didn't seem like too many people for a trek. The group, again, was good and everyone got along well. After a slow, bumpy drive to the eastern side of the range we started the first day of the trek.
It was a nice introduction, with about four hours of gentle uphill to the campsite. The scenery was great, particularly when we reached what felt like an enchanted valley with snow capped mountains towering over a wide, green valley with a creek and grazing Llamas amongst gnarled old trees. The night was incredibly cold and was quite uncomfortable.
Day two was the most difficult day with four hours of solid uphill trekking. Again we were rewarded with the scenery, walking through a valley of jagged, snow covered mountains. Four of us broke away to complete the final grueling ascent to the pass and covered it in fairly good time. When we finally reached the top of the pass, Punta Union at 4750m, the reward was totally unexpected. We looked over an emerald green lake that sat at the bottom of a snow covered 6000+m peak. The last hour was quickly forgotten. We legs now thicker than tree trunks we set of for a nice leisurely two hours downhill to the next campsite. We camped below what we were told was the Paramount Pictures logo - but I just checked and it definitely wasn't! Thankfully there were two spare sleeping bags so we had a toasty night sleeping in two sleeping bags each.
Day three was a cruise, with mainly flat terrain and we made it to camp by 2pm. Several hours of cards ensued. We had a campfire that night which was welcomed, although it was the warmest of the nights.
Day four was a short walk of less than two hours downhill to Cashapampa. As with the rest of the trek, the terrain was spectacular. We ended up sitting by the side of the road for three hours waiting for our transport to arrive - not so fun.
After taking a couple more days to relax, we head back to Lima to meet up with Steph's friend Jaimee.  
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