Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting High

As this title suggests, we got high this weekend. I'm talking physically, approximately 15,748 feet above sea level.

We arrived in Huaraz Friday morning at 6am and went straight to our hostel, Jo's Place, which was more of a quirky colorful guesthouse. There were tents set up in the courtyard and we met some really cool people including a couple who are biking from Lima, to the tip of Sur America, to Buenos Aires. Amazing people, check out their page here at and read their journal entry specifically about the Santa Cruz trek(Emily, all I could think was how you would have loved them!).

Anyway without wasting anytime to acclimatize to our new height of 10,000ft above sea level we hopped in a van and headed higher to ride some horses. Lets just say we didn't really know what we were getting into. Riding ponies up and up, in the beginning we joked about riding them to the glacier covered mountains above us...and then we actually did it. Unfortunately I wimped out when we were about 40mins from the top because my head hurt too much, but apparently there were some beautiful lakes at the top. Also I hit my head on a branch..not too funny at the time but now it is.

After this little adventure we realized we needed to acclimatize better, so we napped and drank lots and lots of coca.

The next morning we awoke with the roosters and went to a cute cafe for trekkers/backpackers, Cafe Andino. Where we ate huge banana pancakes, delish. Then we headed out to some hotsprings, which turned out to just be a tepid muddy pool and then these really hot sauna caves. I just did the cave thing, I think we did the coolest one and it was still too much for me.

Sunday morning we headed out at 6am to Huascaran National Park, it was about 3 hours away, on some crazy dirt roads. Driving into the park we passed some pretty teal lakes. Then we began our 6 hour hike. It started off alright, there were some struggles on the valley which was by far the easiest part looking back. The valley was soo majestic there was a river running through and just as we started about 7 horses came running down the hill to drink out of the river. After 30mins of walking on flat land we began our ascent, zig-zagging up the mountainside. Amazing views the entire way, of waterfalls and Huascaran, which is like the tallest peak in Peru, I think. Then we finally got to another flat part which I like to call Hot Poop valley, the name is self explanatory...there were probably 30 cows in this valley..I have no idea what left all of that poop though! Then started the hour and a half long scramble to the top which was literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do because of the lack of oxygen. But it was as they say 'vale la pena' when we saw laguna 69...I have never seen those colors of blue before in my life! It was just incredible I can't even explain it..the pictures do a pretty good job but still the color is not perfect.

To sum it all up I will just leave you with a myriad of pictures from my trip!

inside the sauna cuevas in Choncos

we had a cowgirl with us, thankfully

hello sun!

see that mountain..that's where we went

our first glimpse of glacial lakes

we went up there


meghan, me, ella and emily at laguna 69