Friday, July 25, 2014

Home at last, and back to writing. . . soon

After five weeks in Peru, trekking and touring, we are home, and it sure does feel good!  here hasn't been time yet to sort and edit photos, or assess everything we did, but here's a quick and dirty summary:

This was a family trip--the four of us, plus 4 more of my husband's relatives (two of his brothers, one spouse, and a nephew). That worked surprisingly well.

On June 18, we flew to Lima, via Mexico City. Spent two days there, gathering the group (some flew from Seattle, we flew from San Francisco) and seeing a little bit of the city. Lima is large, crowded, and full of buses belching nasty fumes. At this time of year there is a vague fog blanketing the coast all the time, making for a white sky and a damp feel. I wasn't sorry to leave.

On the 20th, we caught the bus to Huaraz, an 8-hour ride north along the coast and then up into the mountains. We arrived at dinner time (dark) at 10,000'. Thanks to some motion-sickness pills and some generous young geologists from (I think) Holland who let me sit up front, I did not puke. This was something in the nature of a triumph, as I am the person who gets motion-sickness when I try to use the route simulator video on the torture bike at the gym (true story).

For the next three days we did dayhikes out of Huaraz to get acclimatized, then we headed out for trek #1:  the Cordillera Blanca circuit, also known as the Alpomayo Circuit after one of the signature peaks of the route. Our treks were fully catered--a novelty for us that soon proved to be a wise choice. With ages ranging from 15 up through the 50s, and ten long days of hiking over passes that were all higher than Mt. Rainier (heck, many of our camps were higher), we needed to be able to get to camp and lie down, not set up and fix meals! Scenery was spectacular, as advertised (I'll have  photos later. I also will go back and put the photos into my earlier post that didn't quite work).

At the end of that trek, we spent one day in Huaraz, another driving to the next trailhead, and began 9 more days of hiking, through (around) the Huayhuash range. That was the end of the trekking, and we bused to Lima again, from which two members of the party went home and the other six of us flew out to Cusco, to visit Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu requires a lot of logistics! Plane to Cusco, bus (in this case private, so we could visit some cool places on the way) to Ollantaytambo, train to Aquas Calientes, and a 1200' climb to the ruins (you can take a bus, and on the second day I did, but hiking up isn't bad at all when you've just finished 23 days of hiking at higher altitudes, and the bus ride was terrifying). The big thing I wasn't prepared for was the jungle atmosphere--i.e., humidity! As a West-coast person, I have simply never had to cope with heat and humidity. For the record, for some irrational reason the body can react to dehydration by throwing up. Makes no sense to me, since that removes still more water from the system, but there it is. Drink up and avoid this!

Finally, the trip home--left the ruins at 2 p.m., caught the train at 4, were met by our van at Ollantaytambo at 5:45, and arrived in Cusco after 8. Next day flew to Lima, and the next day after that had a 7 a.m. flight home. Spent nearly 8 hours in Mexico City (we took the subway to the city center, returning at rush hour. That was an experience) and arrived home at 11 p.m. local time, July 23.

That's the nutshell version of our trip!  For today, how about a few photos of the dayhikes around Huaraz?  I have a lot of work to do, with over 2700 photos to sort, edit and process.  I'd like to get back to writing, too!

Bus ride from Lima to Huaraz.

Local home with cross on roof.

A grain similar to quinoa (which is from the area and grown a lot here too).

Lake Churup
Hiking to Lake 69.  Huascaran behind--Peru's highest mountain.

Los Tres Muchachos soon discovered that being faster meant lots of waiting.  Sometimes in a cold wind.

The imaginatively named Lake 69 (the 69th recorded in a survey of all the lakes in the Peruvian Andes).


10 comments:

  1. What an awesome trip, I mean adventure.

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    1. LOL! Trip indeed! Getting high in the mountains. . .

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  2. Great initial commentary on your adventure. I liked the picture of the 3 boys huddling behind the rock, using it as a windbreak.

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    1. Thanks, Zeke! Yeah, it was cold and windy. It was often cold and windy, especially atop passes, where the boys spent a lot of time waiting. I could ALMOST feel sorry for them.

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  3. How exciting! I've always wanted to go there. Would you recommend it?

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    1. I totally recommend it. Of course, whether you would want to do the treks is pretty individual--they are physically very demanding, though no camping skills are required if you do it the way we did.

      Machu Picchu is a life-list kind of thing, and worth seeing, though the crowds and development take the edge off a bit. Probably would have appreciated it more if we'd done it first, but it didn't work that way.

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  4. Wow! Sounds like a great trip. And you can x it off your bucket list :-)
    Thanks for sharing the first photos. It looks very high, indeed.

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    1. My bucket list grows faster than I can cross things off. But in reality I'm pretty happy as long as I get into the mountains--SOME mountains--a few times a year.

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  5. Those are some lovely pictures. I bet you're feeling fitter now than when you left.

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    1. Thanks! I'm trying hard to hang onto that fitness, but there's real no substitute for walking all day.

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