Trekking in the canyon

Trip Start Jun 16, 2007
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Trip End Nov 13, 2007


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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday 23rd June - Monday 25th June

3 day/2 night Trekking tour into Colca Canyon

Taxi picked us up from hostel in Arequipa at 5:50am for a six hour local bus ride to the village of Cabanaconde; great to experience local buses,  bus started off quiet and we had seats but soon filled up until we were cramped in like sardines with local people:  Ross with an enormous box of groceries on his knee, 7 of us in our group plus our guide.  halfway through the journey the bus driver pulled over in the middle of nowhere and opened door into the cabin and yelled "el banos" (bathroom).  Bathroom??????  Where???? people disembarked to use the invisible "banos" directly outside bus windows, a small cowboy looking chap who clearly had more business to do hiked off 50 yards to find cover on the barren desert landscape! Bus reached 4,900m during drive over the Andes.
Travelling light!
When we arrived in village of cabanaconde (3,300m)at about 12:30pm , we had dinner in a small local restaurant (standard Peru meal of soup, then rice, chicken and potatoes) before setting off on trek.  Claire´s standard Peru meal reappeared within 50 yards of village and guide proclaimed it was normal at this altitude!  But Claire carried on with hike regardless, despite several invisible "banos" stops along way.  We continued 5 hour hike to bottom of canyon - 1200m of rough stony tracks designed for mules rather than man. 
Start of the trek into the canyon
At bottom of canyon, our guide asked "do you have flashlights" and we suddenly realised the day´s trek was not over yet.  We had to climb 200m up other side of canyon in the dark to reach tiny village we were staying in.  Stayed with family in their home and they cooked us all a 3 course meal over a charcoal fire, which Claire regrettabley felt could not to eat after the ´incidences' of the day.  Freezing cold during night so wore all clothes and new alpaca wool hats!

Next day, we wandered around tiny village, the guide showed us how they lived self sufficiently in canyon, growing all own food, and plants for medicines, making own clothes etc.  We saw hummingbirds on the cacti and ate prickly pears! We trekked back down to canyon to river, and had lunch (and a swim!) before setting off on the 1200m climb back up the canyon.  It was decided at this point that as Claire had not eaten for 2 days she was to travel by mule!  Guide haggled with local mule owner and secured a deal of 40 soles (appox 8 quid!). Ross set off with rest of group after lunch and Claire later on a mule, with 2 french travelers also on mules.   Claire pretty terrified at prospect of riding mule up canyon for 2 hours, especially after seeing paths on way down, but all turned out fine, despite a few scary moments teetering over canyon on back of mule!  Made it up in 2 hours, overtaking group of hikers on way including Ross. Mule owner ran up with mules whole way despite looking at least 60. 
Claire on a mule!
Ross made it up in just over 2 and a half hours when the guide told us his personal best was 57 minutes.  He presumably has lungs of steel! 
Made it to the top!
That night in Cabanconde there was a festival of farming taking place, and we watched a local dancing competition.  Thankfully we missed the slaughtering of the bull, as it was already looking medium rare on the barbeque when we arrived. 

Stayed in village, ate local meal, and froze in the hostel that night! 

Up at 5:30am next morning to take another bus to a spot where we watched condors over the canyon.  Fantastic.  We saw them rise on thermals before heading to coast.  condor!

Next was bus home, stopping en route at a pool filled with naturally hot water which has run off mountain  to revive our muscles and then a big lunch (but not for Claire!)  Back in Arequipa for the night.  Recovering today before catching night bus to Cuzco (10 hours) - (using the same safe bus company!) Struggling with the spanish and hope to take lessons in Cusco......

Overall, so far having a great time.  All the peruvians we have met have been really helpful, depsite our lack of spanish, and are the friendlist and kindest people you could hope to meet. 

Hope you all well and enjoying the rain in England! 

Love Ross and Claire

P.s

Linsey, Ruth, Cross & Welsh  - hope you survived glasto!  Can´t wait to hear all about it!
Dad & Fiona - thnaks heaps for nagging me to upgrade my CIPD membership - it was successful!
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

fionaking05
fionaking05 on

Hello!
Congrats on the CIPD upgrade...I told you it would be worth it. Sounds like your both having an amazing time...very very jealous. I hope your stomach has settled slightly! Keep the updates coming! x

douglinda
douglinda on

Sheffield By The Sea
Claire & Ross, your journey seems fantastic but can't concentrate at the moment as we are trying to get used to wearing scuba diving gear for bed. We have had a little extra rain this month. Your descriptive narrative is very good, I see a new career ahead. Must go now, we have to bale out the attic before we go to bed.
Doug/Linda

claireandross
claireandross on

Doug & Linda
Doug & Linda, sorry to hear about rainfall, any chance you could check my grandma hasn´t been washed down Lowedges Road? Ta

claireandross
claireandross on

Re: Hello!
Hey Fiona, Hope you doing okay! Miss you lots. Make sure you email me all the news. love to Team HR x

2gringos
2gringos on

buenos dias
Great to see brilliant pics and details of your adventures. El banos and mule debacle sounded amusing/scary! Condors amazing. Glad you missed the bull slaughter. Sorry to hear Claire's been unwell A few key phrases to help your future communication - Pienso que voy a vomitar (I think I'm going to vomit), No se de donde vino eso (I don't know where that came from!), Me puede prestar una bomba? (Can I borrow a plunger?), Hope Claire's feeling better. Keep the photos coming Love Mum & Mike XXX

crossbo
crossbo on

Eau'de yak urine
Pics are amazing guys; r u going to come back???
Glasto was a washout aye but a pint of wine for breakfast and 'it doesn't matter' as the chemical brothers once, err, sampled. Hope the rest of your journey goes well, take care, Crossbo x

lauraowen
lauraowen on

You guys have all the fun....
Hey up you two. Thanks for the updates and the pictures. What with this and facebook I can successfully procrastinate for days! Sounds completely amazing (apart from mule ride, vomit and bull slaughter). Get well soon Claire and take care. Love Laura xx

angloamericano
angloamericano on

What an adventure........
What an awesome adventure you two are having. The pictures and commentary is outstanding. I have shared some of your blog with colleagues at work and family here and now I am getting asked for daily updates! Claire - I hope by now you have overcome your altitude sickness and that you are both ready for the next leg.

Take Care and Stay Safe.

Dad.

Ross - Been playing the new Kings of Leon CD you sent me (you gotta turn it up to eleven)

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