Just for shits and giggles
Caraz Travel Blog› entry 97 of 123 › view all entries
I did make it up at 5.30am, but I was feeling less than my usual self. I toyed with not going, but took some pills and got myself ready as I really didn't want to miss seeing the Huascaran National Park. The early start wasn't appreciated and my mood wasn't helped by the fact that we ended up standing round waiting for the transport for half an hour. When we did get going, we had a 2 hour stint to Caraz, where we had a rip-off S.8 (£1.80/$2.75) breakfast which I really didn't fancy. It was another hour and a half to our starting point at 2900m Cashapampa and we were greeted with glorious sunshine when we arrived. We waited 2 hours for our guide, Abel, to arrive and for the porters to pack the less than enthusastic donkeys.
Abel had decided that we would be getting up at 3.30am to try and beat the afternoon rains later in the day. I was feeling a tiny bit better and had a small breakfast to try and give me some energy. We started hiking just after 5am in the dark, which was entertaining, especially for the poor horse that Albane was riding. She had bad joints, so couldn't trek far, and hired herself a stooge - he didn't look in great shape though and certainly didn't enjoy the huge rocks that came in our path. We hiked through a beautiful valley near Laguna Jatuncocha, with the white Corderilla peaks of Caraz and Artesonraju around us - it really was stunning.
We got to the second camp (4,200m) at about 2.30pm, after hiking for nearly 10 hours. It was a tiring day, but I could feel myself slowly getting better. Bang on cue, the rains came as Abel had predicted, so we spent the afternoon in the dining tent playing cards.
Same 3.30am drill as yesterday and again we were on the trail by 5.30am. The first couple of hours were tough - all uphill, all rocks. The horse looked like it was going to give up the ghost, even without Albane on its back. Can't blame it, it must be sodding difficult climbing rocks with crappy metal shoes on! The highlight of the scenery was the 4,750m Punta Union pass - it was amazing looking down the two valleys either side and seeing where we had come from and where we were going - the green valley flowed as far as the eye could see.
We arrived at the campsite about 2pm and I was delighted to find out that it doubled up as a hikers refuge - there was a beautiful farmhouse like building, with lovely thick wooden beams. We found out that you could stay in a dorm bed inside for S.10 (£2/$3) a night and I was in like flynn without having to be asked twice - comfy bed or cold, wet tent??! Tough choice.
We had the luxury of a lie-in til 7.00am and I felt so much better for a night in a bed. My stomach was much better, and I felt like a new man as we started hiking after breakfast. Today was an easy day - we only had 2 hours of hiking to get to our pick up point at Vaqueria. We were outside the national park by now and walked through a few indigenous villages en route.
It was nice to have a shower on returning to Caroline's (I had to pay S.5 for the priviledge!) and we went out for dinner as a group at Encuentro before I had to go and get my overnight bus to Lima. What on earth posessed me to book to leave straight after coming back from the trek?!?