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Published: August 18th 2011
The traffic lights here are a bit of a laugh. When red man is standing stoic arms and legs apart reminding you to move no further, has had his turn, little green man appears, he is in profile and above him another round light indicates the seconds remaining in which one has time to cross. When green man first appears he takes of like a sprinter on hearing a starting gun, only in slow motion, as the seconds count down his pace picks up and he starts to jog, 23, 22, 21, he is keeping good time 15,14 13…… the jog turns into a vigorous sprint, 9,8,7…….he is running like the devil himself is chasing him 3,2………its like Carl Lewis on steroids after drinking a gallon of expresso. Bang! gentle unwavering red man appears again just as you thought green man was seconds away from a coronary.
We have wandered the streets of Huaraz and orientated ourselves well now, choosing the restaurants we like at the prices we like. We were under the impression that Huaraz in the season is really pricey and indeed in some of the more touristy hostals and restaurants it is but having said that there are
numerous eateries with all sorts of culinary temptations that are reasonable, clean and friendly. Hostals also have good deals and there are masses to choose from.
We have also had entertaining moments from a chap in a moto-taxi that ferries people up and down in the area. Our amusement stems from the fact that the hostal lies at the bottom of a little hill and each time moto-taxi man comes roaring down the hill his speakers blasting salsa or reaggaeton, as his he picks up sped so does the music until chipmonk type screams come from the trembling speakers.
Once in the dip he ascends the other side and the music slows down, near the top of the hill the music sounds like a soundtrack from an art house horror film.
Cheesy I know but every time it just cracks us up. Yes its time to get out of town and see what all the fuss is about in these glorious surroundings.
We backed our bags with the usual gear. We had decided to skirt the outside of the park as we had only planned to camp one night and that meant we would have to pay for a weekly
pass which worked out expensive so we made the decision to put off the park until such time that we would actually go and stay for some time. (1 day/ 5 soles, 1-7 days/65 soles)
We studied a few maps and consulted google earth and realized finding a beautiful trek would be like shooting fish in a barrel. We choose a route and with all our gear. We rationed everything down to a minimum to save our backs and around 6am we left.
Above the city is a huge cross and we climbed up to it thinking that would get us our bearings. We trundled on and to my surprise found a fir forest. The smell hit us first, that gorgeous fresh wintery smell that fir trees give out. We climbed steadily, the mountain we wanted to reach the top of was in view for most of the time, It was 15kms away…….UP.
The night before when looking at the maps we had concerns about a certain cannon and whether it had a trail as the sides appeared vertical. When we happened across it we climbed to the top of its ridge. It was mostly scree and we slipped and
slid to the top. The ridge was about 2 feet wide and the fall…………..well I didn’t want to think about it. The views were breathtaking not the snowcapped peaks yet but emeralds green crevasses giving way to terraced fields and eventually the river valley which lead back to Huaraz.
This was the precarious part we had hoped we wouldn’t have to go through. An irrigation channel ran through most of it and was dry so we followed it but some of it was very narrow and a little unsettling for me at least. It wound around corners and crevasses and with each turn giving us another view, one as beautiful as the last.
Getting out of the hairy bit we noticed way below us a little village and we moved on slowly ascending, we were now in yellow sun dried pasture and steep but slopping terrain.
The pace got slower as altitude kicked in, We had climbed nearly 1000m and were determined to reach the top to view our options. Huffing and puffing (I was) we made it to stunning views this time of snow topped cliffs and mountains with lazy glaciers filling in the crevasses between, All around us
were rolling hills yellow with sunburn and further below impossibly yellow fields of barley and wheat. Another step slope and we figured we had reached our summit. When we did we found cairns of large stones and natural offering left by people who had climbed before us.
We knew that nearby were 3 little lakes. We spotted a dried up lake and continued in search of the other 2, nearby we found another dried up lake right on top of another slope. JD went on and found the 3rd which was just over the next hill but we decided to stop and camp at the top of the hill we were on as the views were incredible and we wanted to watch the sun go down and then up again from there.
It was a full moon and it is also the time of the year when you can see an abundance of meteorites, so we watched the colours change on the snow capped peaks as the moon rose over the mountains and the tempeture dropped rapidly. Retreating from the ground frost to warm sleeping bags we fell asleep to the sound of absolutely nothing. Tired and happy and looking
forward to sunrise. Incidentally we didn’t get to see any action in the sky as the moon was so bright it obscured the stars, not that we minded we had made it and tomorrow was another day.
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