Published: July 15th 2011April 19th 2011
Unbelieveable landscape in the Andean Highlands.
Another early start today as the horrible sound of my alarm woke me up at 6AM, it’s ok though my battery would probably die today. I sat up in my sleeping bag with an absolutely cracking headache, even after drinking water every time I woke during the night. We heard someone calling from outside the tent, it was one of the crew waking us up offering us tea and coffee before we had even left our tent, it was great. Unfortunately from here on in we had no way to wash ourselves besides using small bowls of warm water which was also brought to our tent door by the awesome Charity Challenge staff. By the time Hannah and I had gotten ready, breakfast was ready in the dining tent, today we had omelets. Afterwards the entire group gathered around as we were introduced to the Charity Challenge crew who would be looking after us, cooking for us and setting up and cleaning the campsites for us. We all thanked them for the their hard work so far, then prepared ourselves for a very long day of hiking through the Lares Valley.
Because of the late change of plan to the
More breathtaking views across the valley
location of our campsite we had to make up the distance between the hot springs and our original campsite. Thankfully instead of walking it, George had arranged a small truck to take us all too where we would have begun trek day 2 if not for all our delays. One by one we crammed ourselves on the back of the truck, surprisingly all 30 of us managed to fit, it was a little cosy but we got there. We took the same rough road where our bus met its demise yesterday so you can imagine how nervous we were on the back of a truck. But after a rough and bumpy ride over the mountainside we reached our original campsite after a 30 minute drive, most of which was uphill, we were so glad we didn’t have to walk it. The landscape here was stunning, and it was our first glace at some of the massive snow topped mountains in the area. Once everyone was off the truck we gathered around to have a briefing with George. The plan was to keep at a slow pace, drink lots of water and stop if you need to, we were walking around
Trekking uphill in some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen
10 hours today.
The trek had started for day 2, we began by slowly going uphill trying to avoid the many locals and their sheep going the opposite way. We were walking at a good pace and were stopping to catch our breath regularly but it was still incredibly tiring thanks to the altitude. After walking for a few hours, it was hard to believe how far we’d come. The place where we started by the road and stream could be seen way down at the bottom of the valley in the distance. We spent the first four hours walking very steeply uphill until finally we had reached the highest pass for today, 4,200M above sea level. The views were just spectacular and after a very tough uphill walk, it gave a great sense of achievement to finally reach the top. We stopped here for around 20 minutes taking in the incredible scenery before starting on our decent into the next valley. George told us that lunch was only 20 minutes away but it was hard to believe him when you could see our tiny orange food tent way, way off in the distance. Eventually we all made it
After a few hours uphill, we all deserved a well needed rest
to the lunch tent, I was exhausted and had a pounding headache, and I needed more painkillers. We ate lunch in the tent of mashed potato and chicken, also strangely on the table was a warm cordial like drink, would have been better ice-cold though. After lunch we prepared ourselves for a very long and steep downhill stretch, some people were given the opportunity to jump on a horse or go ahead with one of the guides. Before long we were off again.
The first section was relatively flat and quite easy compared to what we have done so far today. Local kids started following us along the trail, asking for sweets and gifts from us. Eventually more and more kids were running around us so we stopped to take some photos and give them a few treats, they were so excited. Most of the time as soon as you gave them something they would hide it in their red poncho, I don’t think I ever saw them actually eat what we gave them. Max told them all to meet us at our campsite in the valley where we could give them gifts later this afternoon. We continued on
Highest point today, the orange dot in the far distance is our lunch stop
as the trail became steeper with every step. Though it didn’t seem to bother the kids at all, they would literally run down the mountainside, sometimes taking absurd paths to get to the bottom as quickly as possible. It took us quite some time to get to the bottom of the valley then onto the campsite, mainly because people kept falling over on the small slippery rocks, Hannah was one of them.
When we finally reached the campsite after a good 10 hours walking we were surprised to see the locals were sitting in a row with their wares out in front of them. They had even brought with them soft drinks, Gatorade and even beer, this was brilliant. After throwing our stuff in a tent it was time for some shopping. I decided against having beer since this would only worsen my headache, but we did buy quite a lot of Gatorade which would hopefully help. We also used this opportunity to give out some gifts to the kids, there were so many we had to make sure everyone got something. It was amazing how something as simple as a few crayons and some paper could make someone
Young Peruvian kids followed us along the trail
so excited and happy. I suppose they never really have access to things like these so it was a big deal for them. At times I saw them crowding around each other drawing and showing off their new things, amazing to watch. The rest of the evening was relaxed, we were all too exhausted to do anything really. We had dinner then most people headed to the tent for the night, by 9PM everyone was asleep, after all it was another extremely early morning tomorrow. Campsite Altitude:
3,800M Step Count:
Tent - Huacahuisi
There are more photos below