Santa Cruz trail - The Good Times Are Killing Me

Santa Cruz Travel Blog

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We got off the bus in a small town called Vaqueria where were supposed to have lunch. Instead we were lucky enough to find a half empty food store (stretching the term store here) where we bought vanilla crackers, yougurt, and indigestion. As we got on the road children starting following us, as usual they asked for candy (fuck off!) and in broken up Spanish we talked a bit. The main language in the rural areas of the Andes is Quechua, the language of the Incas, while Spanish is a secondary language.
The first day we walked through villages and meadows, where wild horses pastured. It was an easy day, and we camped by a nice river.
 
On the second day our luck continued with the weather as it rained only at night but the hike got tough, really tough.
Our campsite the 1st night
We hiked over 5 hours and a kilometer upwards through ponds, mud, and rocks to get to the pass, which was at 4750 meters. Getting to the top was a huge struggle, although the cows pasturing at 4500 meters seemed to be throughly enjoying themselves ("white people here?"). We (including Matt and Madolyn) pretty much felt terrible due to the lack of oxygen, but making it to the pass was worth it, as we were surrounded by peaks of beautiful snowy mountains and lakes below us. It was truly an amazing sight, one that almost made you want to cry. After some celebrating, we made our way down. The night was again really cold, and a man who had a huge tent helped us out by offering his tent to cook inside as it rained. Thanks Cesar! We should mention that people in Peru, especially the Andes are extremely nice.
Brrrrrr
 
By the third day, the cold took its toll on Emily as she was quite sick, but was a trooper about it and walked the day. It was a short day, through rivers and lakes as we lost altitude and walked away from the mountains.
 
On the fourth day we were all sick, and by mistake we had 5 hours to walk instead of 3. Begrudingly we continued to make our way out of the mountains. The snowy peaks and a tarantula were left behind, and the river the trail ran next to got increasingly roudier. We finally got out the trail and a man offered us to rest at his house while we caught our breath. As we drank some liquid he started showing us his harp, and suddenly starting playing, picking the strings deftly with an Andean rythm. Life flushed back into our eyes as we watched him, despite a kitten that howled as the Peruvian man gathered strength and started singing. It was a beautiful and comepletely unexected musical experience. After some 20 minutes, we made our way to the car that would take us back into civilization, thankful and way happier. The cab had 11 people in it, but we didn´t care.
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Our campsite the 1st night
Our campsite the 1st night
Brrrrrr
Brrrrrr
¨What is this white dude doing he…
¨What is this white dude doing h…
Our view at the pass. Rewarding!!!
Our view at the pass. Rewarding!!!
The Fearsome Foursome
The Fearsome Foursome
Santa Cruz
photo by: rendacortes