Published: May 1st 2006April 24th 2006
As we continue our travels around South America we realize with delight that we have no set plan other than to revive our creative ability. That so while in Arequipa we were informed of a 2 night - 3 day trek into and back out again of COLCA CANYON. For more information on Colca Canyon see Colca Canyon, Peru
We had been staying at La Posada del Parque and it conveniently has a travel agency on the terrace, very handy, helpful and friendly people. Maribel set us up through the agency aptly named Marlon's travel after her brother, you guessed it, Marlon. We had spent 4 nights at La Posada del Parque and the family began saying how much we must like Arequipa which we both did, very much. Seems most travellers are there for a night or two then gone to the next destination.
So Thursday night, spent late eve at Internet place to transfer photos from the camera to a memory stick then back to our temporary home to get our bags packed and stored for our days away from Arequipa. Not to mention that we had to be up for breakfast at 5am on the terrace.
When we went up we expected maybe four to six others but to our delight there already waiting on the terrace for breakfast were Laura and Daniel. Friends travelling around South America they may be twins being they share the same birthday and all...
6AM we depart for bus station, via taxi, no kidding six of us crammed into it; I was sitting on my hubby's lap in a cab that probably sits four comfortably, no joke. Don't worry seat belts are only required if you sit in the front seat! Arriving at the station less than five minutes to our bus leaving to Chivay/Cobanaconde. The later being our destination to commence our journey of mind over matter.
Getting off the bus in Cobanaconde was finally able to stretch our legs out. Marcial led us to a small eating establishment on the square a stones throw away from where the bus dropped us off. During this hike, I seriously, had the best Peruvian food to date. Wholesome, natural and good which is why the say the folks here live to see their 90's while the city and coastal folk may manage to see mid-70's
Some how though I
think it's a combination of a lot of walking up and down hill along with the natural foods.
Lunch was veg soup followed by an Alpaca meat mixed with lots of veg and white rice dish i.e. ENERGY FOOD. ending with fruit and Mate de Cocoa tea which helps with altitude sickness.
By two o'clock we set off: got our bodies moving wandering through town as "camp" for the night is the first place over the bridge which also happened to be Marcial (our guides) home. So down the trail we went, switch back after switch back, and by the time we got to camp I had a size able blister on my left foot.
Location is beautiful just above the river - it was so fab sleeping later that night to the sounds of the rushing river and being blanketed by the milky way above. Haven't seen so many stars at night since Sean and I spent a week in Death Valley, CA (where he proposed!) totally awesome place.
Marcial's mother prepared a lovely dinner followed by tea and a black current-bits-of-apple quite warm, very tasty dessert in a mug. By the way dinner was
Marcial our guide
along with fellow trekkers, Laura and Daniel who are great company on a long hike...
by flashlight /head torch as the villages along the tail aren't electrified, yet!
After dinner all four of us climbed a boulder on the property to star gaze - I spotted three shooting stars! After awhile though my body tired, blister on my foot and being a bit cold I decided to retire.
Slept well even if I had a strange dream. Basically the dream was that we could've driven to where we were - wishful thinking I suppose or just [bold] achy feet! [/bold]
The next morning we got to sleep in until seven am which was great. Thankfully, Daniel had a super-duper plaster for me otherwise I may never have made it out of the canyon. We hiked to the oasis which at certain points the trail was literally like a balance beam, seriously four inches, clinging to the side of canyon thankfully those were few. I consciously didn't look down until I got to the wider bit of the trail, phew. Actually, it wasn't so bad as we were walking on solid engineering ( i.e irrigation system) this part of the trail was supposed to be flat but as we all found out it's
PERUVIAN FLAT which is slightly different from our concept of flat, oh well, when in Rome, eh?
Anyhow, it took about four hours to arrive at the oasis where we had a dip in the pool and lunch before heading out of the canyon at 3:15pm We had soup, pasta, tea so by the time we left the Oasis I was beginning to wonder if we would have been better off spending the night only to wake up at 3AM to leave the valley floor?
In retrospect, would have been better off skipping the pool and taking a rest away from the sun in our grass hut but the sun and pool seemed like the fun thing to do...we headed up with the sun high in the sky, it was hot, I felt heavy from lunch too but all was good. So I thought...
About half way up Sean took my pack off me because I was feeling the heat and a bit tired. So he carried both our bags which I owe him for big time. Marcial offered me the use of a taxi (Mule) a couple of times but after hearing the story of a
private hike an American woman who took SIX hours to ascend the 1,150 meters out of the canyon! How could I get on a mula?? One foot in front of another we went.
The last hour of the hike we lost our light witnessed the sun departing for the day taking with it it's warmth and the appearance of the cool starry night was a spectacular sight truly.
Eventually, out of the canyon each with our respective head torches and flashlights following Marcial down the trail over fences and through fields we made it back to town at 7:30pm (4.25 hours) which isn't bad if you ask me.
Our dinner was waiting for us, our chef had been expecting us a half our earlier but hey we arrived eventually. Such a Californian thing to say...
Sunday was a free and easy day, yippie! Rised at 6AM for breakfast got on the local bus to the condor viewing point along with all the vendors who sell their crafts there. It was busy being it's not high season. We saw the Condors playing in the sky for just over an hour catching the next local out to Chivay
time for the HOT springs before our collective bus journey back to Arequipa.
Wonderful experience, place, food all of it was excellent! Marcial our guide was awesome showed us all these cool plants and insects that grow in the area he also managed to catch some butterflies along the way. Laura and Daniel are great people who like Sean and myself are not just on holiday but a journey of life and self-discovery. What do we do with our lives? Live them..
There are more photos below