Huaraz: Laguna 69 - The Final Trek

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March 16th 2014
Published: April 9th 2014
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Laguna 69Laguna 69Laguna 69

We made it!
Another early morning arrival, another town and it was once again time to kick off the flip flops and get out the fleeces, waterproofs and hiking shoes. We had arrived in Huaraz; gateway town to the Cordillera Blanca which is home to some of the highest and most spectacular peaks in Peru. Still half asleep from the overnight journey, we stumbled off the bus and into a taxi which took us five minutes around the corner to our hostel.

With Gem's belly still not quite right we decided it was about time to see a doctor. Once we had both done our best mime act of a person with diarrhoea to the lady in our hostel, the penny finally dropped and she understood what we were getting at. A couple of hours later, with briefcase in hand and stethoscope round his neck, our very own Peruvian Dr Hillary Jones arrived at the hostel.

Costing only a few pounds and with the precious prescription in hand, there was once again light at the end of this somewhat stinky tunnel. Soon after, we headed off to explore the town, book our trek for the following day, arrange transport up to Ecuador
Cordillera BlancaCordillera BlancaCordillera Blanca

Another lake en route with shrouded by huge peaks
and to pick up the antibiotics. After a brief walk around and our mammoth journey to Guayaquil booked, we realised there wasn't much to do in the town and headed back to the hostel to rest up before our early start the next morning.

5.15 and after a few taps on the snooze button, we were up, dressed and out the door at 6am sharp awaiting the arrival of our chariot...a packed minibus. As the mini bus snaked its way up through the mountains into the rather ominous looking grey cloud, we were both lacking motivation and wishing for nothing other than to dive straight back into bed. It was at this time that we swore this would be our last trek! After an hour and a half drive, we arrived at the start of the trek. With 15 or so other slightly more motivated hikers, we set off in the wet and fog. 15 minutes in, before we had even began the incline and we were already muttering to each other "why are we doing this?!". An hour in, soaking wet, mentally and physically exhausted as we began the long incline...this is when the real expletives began to fly. "F******G HELL, I hate this, what are we doing?!", was the general theme. Nevertheless, we ploughed on step by step through the wet and bitterly cold winds gusting off the glaciers. By the time a couple of hours had passed, we had seen little more than rock, grass and the occasional waterfall through the fog, when we were welcomed by a pleasant surprise all of a sudden. As we reached the top of another crest, in the distance we could see an incredible azure blue colour. Expecting a 3/4 hour hike, it came as a more than pleasant surprise when we soon realised that we had arrived at the main attraction of the trek; Laguna 69.

Once again, luck seemed to be on our side. 10 minutes and a tuna sandwich later, the clouds parted for a few minutes and the stubborn sun swooped in to give us the view we had hoped for. With the amazing blue water the colour of 'powerade' and the snow capped peaks in the distance, we stopped moaning, sat down (after getting our 100+ photos of course) and enjoyed the view. All of a sudden, the last two hours of being wet, freezing cold and tired all became worth it. As much as we moan and groan about 5am wake up calls, then to suffer a few hours of hiking, we are always presented with and experience unforgettable views and landscapes which we are extremely lucky to have seen.

Standing there admiring the lagoon and backdrop gave us flashbacks to the similarly stunning surroundings of the three towers in Torres Del Paine; the mineral rich glacial waters of the lagoon sat still and peaceful protected by the surrounding mountains. With the wind still persistent as ever, we decided it was time to head down.

One and a half hours of hoping and skipping down the rocks admiring the now much clearer views up and down the huge valley and we were back at the starting point ready to board the mini bus and set off back to town. A short stop at another beautiful lake en route back and we were soon back in the relative luxury of the hostel looking like a couple of zombies. I'm pretty sure we were already snoring before our heads had even hit the pillow; I think we can be excused though.

The following day we rested up ate lots of food and once again packed up ready to move on. With a monster journey up to Guayaquil ahead, we braced ourselves for the first leg of the journey; an eight hour bus to Trujillo, where we would be catching another bus later in the day onto Guayaquil.

With our hiking boots hung up for this trip, it was all aboard the boring stop Trujillo.

Additional photos below
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21st April 2014

Thank god its nearly over
So glad you got too see a doctor for Gemma. I have never known 4 months go so slow. I know it has been a fantastic experience for you but l cant wait for you to get back' The weather here has improved a lot Grandad and l have both been well thank goodness. Its now Easter we went to see Love Punch on Good Friday thought itbwas very funny went to Hove lawns on Saturday Food Market met up with Christian and Leah great time Sunday poured of rain allday watches football allday great Arsenal. Looking forward to seeing you soon Lots of love and kisses to you both Nan and Grandadxxxxxxxxxs

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