Laguna 69


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South America » Peru » Ancash » Cordillera Blanca
July 22nd 2012
Published: July 22nd 2012
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I was going to name this post ‘The day I had to dig deep and put my big girl panties on!’, but James didn’t think that was suitable for a post that also includes him!

We did the popular Laguna 69 hike on the 4th day in Haurez, which meant that we were both pretty much acclimatized (or so we thought), and were ready for some leg stretching. It is hard to say or write Laguna 69 without inserting a winking emoticon but apparently the 69 had nothing to do with what you think – but more of a lets-just-give-it-a-number and we’ll name it later, kind of situation.

We had an early pick up from our hostel and together with a bus full of other travelers, made the 3 hour trip up to the national park. We where we were treated to some spectacular views of glacial carved valleys and beautiful turquoise lakes.

We eventually reached the hike’s starting point and were told to be back at the bus for 15:30. No problem, as that left us 3 n half hours up and 2 down, for a hike that is very similar to ascending just below the cable car on Table Mountain – about a 700m ascent with a valley or two thrown in and some steeper zigzags just to add to the fun.

We immediately started feeling the effects of the altitude only minutes from the bus. For some daft reason I kept forgetting that we were actually at 4000m and not down at the coast, and that a few hundred metres of walking meant a whole lot of pain for my body!

The hike for me was very very tough. My head felt ready to explode at any time from the severe headache and every little cell in my poor lungs was burning from the lack of air. Those two things together were testing enough, but throw in some severe nausea and dizziness and I was having a shite oh-my-flip-I-want-to-die-right-now experience, for the entire hike...for 3 very long hours...in the middle of the day.

At one point, after coming over a hill and seeing another valley ahead with a moerse steep zigzagging path on the other side, I sat down and decided that seeing a stupid glacier lake with a stupid name was just not worth it. James was a superstar, gave me some encouraging words and agreed that it wasn’t worth it if I was as feeling that shite.

We sat for awhile and I recovered enough to see that we were so close and that it wasn’t fair for James- he would also be missing out on a spectacular vista.

So, I dug super diamond-mine deep, gave myself a talking to, put my Big-Girl-Panties on, stood up and carried on with the hike. I focused on just putting one foot in front of the other and slowly slowly made it up the hill. James by this stage had already taken half of my backpack supplies to lighten my load but eventually just took my whole backpack and championed on as a pack mule – not that he wasn’t feeling the nauseas, dizziness and throbbing headache too. He just wasn’t being a girl about it apparently!

*side note: having a group of people on mules (!!!) come trotting past you whilst you feeling like this, can make you very creative with a few choice cuss words! Nobody told us that there was a “DONKEY RIDE TO THE TOP” option!!

We eventually made it to the top and were rewarded with the spectacular view of the beautiful crystal clear turquoise Laguna, surrounded by stunning snow capped peaks and beautiful precarious glacier walls.

High fives and woohoo’s all around from our hostel team, and I managed to hang onto my stomach contents just long enough to have a photo (smiling, nogal) and a four step walk, I couldn’t handle any more, around to take in the vista. The rest was short lived as we had to start making our way back to the bus. The walk back was a great deal better, and as soon as we started descending, the nausea and headache subsided enough to appreciate the surrounds, which I had been ignoring on the way up.

The return time for some people on the bus was obviously a general guideline, as they strolled in after 6pm –they were met with a bus full of tired grumpily-hungry people and a bus driver who was obviously very annoyed as he was hell bent on getting back to town in record time, using the speed limits as mere loose suggestions on the precarious gravel switchback roads.

Overall, the hike was a good experience and was a privilege to be out in such big mountains. It pushed us to our limits but we managed to come through the other side, with only a few battle wounds to soothe.


Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


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22nd July 2012

Proud mom and dad
Man we are so proud of your two, taking on the Laguna 69 hike sounds like a huge challenge and we are so glad you didn't turn back. Can you imagine how you would have felt if you had have! Love yu guys.....xxxx
22nd July 2012

Sounds like a real challenge, think you have better big girl pants than me. That water looks amazing too.
23rd July 2012

Well done guys!
23rd July 2012

Thumbs up Toni. And you absolutely have the right man at your side! I guess it's definitely worthwhile trading your stomach content for the memories of that lake :-) and just think about it, you'll always have mixed feelings remembering of 69! Stay well.
23rd July 2012

Stunning
What beautiful photos Toni and James. It must have been so spectacular. Toni...we all have to put on our big girl panties every now and again. :-) The boys just don't admit it!! Chat soon. xx
23rd July 2012

been keeping track of all the goings on... and love you so much for putting your big-girl-panties on and James - on your way to winning Awesome Husband of the Year award for helping out your wife ;) This trip is such an amazing time in your lives, all the blood, sweat and tears will be so worth it when you look back at it in the years to come. Such amazing scenery - that lake looks too good to be true! wondering if you've managed to get in some meditation at some choice spots yet? love you guys xo
23rd July 2012

Well done
Well done hun! Amazing what a little chat to yourself and some big girl pants can do hey. hahaha Looks like it certainly was worth all that effort. Good on ya xxx
23rd July 2012
Us starting with Huascaran 6768m in the background

Still smiling.hahaha
23rd July 2012
About a third of the way

What a great shot.
23rd July 2012
A place to remember

WOOOOOW! Even better shot. Smile James!
23rd July 2012

Well done guys. So proud of you Toni for hanging in there. James, you are definitely up for hubby of the year. Those images will be with you for life. Fantastic. It wouldn't have been the same on a donkey!! XX
24th July 2012

Awesome sights, worth all you went through to get up there. I am seriously impressed.

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