Santa Cruz Trek - Day 4

Huaraz Travel Blog

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Rushing mountain stream
We got up earliest of all the days on the trek on our last day, all of us eager to get on the trail and finish the trek.  At 3 hours or so it seemed like a walk in the park.  After 2 days of walking I felt that I could go all day walking and climbing.  I was getting used to this and I noticed that I had to notch my belt up and that maybe I had lost a bit of weight.  I know that I felt very good and healthy and that this exercise, walking and clean air was doing wonders for me.  This day was going to be all downhill, descending almost 1,000 meters in a narrow valley to the village of Cachapampa where we would get transportation back to Huaraz.

We set a very fast pace even though there were many loose rocks and gravel and more possibility of slipping and twisting an ankle.
Valley
  On some of the slopes we skipped down to go even faster.  The river rushed on down below us and as we got lower and lower we saw more trees, then cacti and other tropical flora.  The deep valley created dramatic shadows and fascinating contrasts as we turned back and forth and went gradually lower and lower.  We didn't stop very often and finally when I just desperately needed a break, there were the others in a small grassy spot by the rushing stream.  I took off my dusty shoes and socks and bathed my feet in the fresh freezing water.  It felt amazing!  Oliver told us that we only had 5 minutes left to the village!  I couldn't believe we were so close.  We had descended very very rapidly and it was not even noon.  Sure enough, just a few more bends and there was the end of the trail.
Horse grazing
  Success!!

We waited for our ride as Oliver had to lead another group from there the opposite way on another 4 day trek.  He wasn't too happy about it but was still in good humor and wished us well.  We tipped him and gave him a tip for the donkey driver, Antonio.  Then we piled into the taxis after a wait for our things and we were on our way back.  Looking back at the mountain I could see more clearly that the valley we had come down was cut over eons by the river to form a deep, narrow gash in the mountain face that stretched far on both sides.  It was fascinating to see it from a distance.  Our route passed by many beautiful fields, and dusty villages and then we began winding our way on a slip of a road cut from the mountain very very high up.
Stark contrast
  I was getting used to these high mountain roads but this road was even more terrifying than most.  There was really only room for a single car and our driver honked before every turn to alert coming vehicles.  The sweeping view across the valley to the mountains with fields under cultivation and the view down the steep slopes to far below was very impressive.  Soon enough we descended to the valley and paved roads and we were in Caraz, where we changed to a mini-bus and made our way back to Huaraz.  Sadhbh had us in stitches when she got into a contorted position to try to stretch out. 

For the rest of the day we did little but catch up on laundry, internet and rest.  I sent out for some food and then came back and went to bed very early.  It was so nice to get a hot shower and warm bed!  We take for granted so many everyday things.  I felt tremendous from the trek and I would definitely do it again!


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Rushing mountain stream
Rushing mountain stream
Valley
Valley
Horse grazing
Horse grazing
Stark contrast
Stark contrast
Steep valley
Steep valley
Sun going behind mountain
Sun going behind mountain
Grove of trees
Grove of trees
Stream with uprooted tree
Stream with uprooted tree
Stream
Stream
Hut by path
Hut by path
End of the trek
End of the trek
The route
The route
Cachapampa
Cachapampa
Cachapampa
Cachapampa
Our group
Our group
The valley, a cleft in the mountain
The valley, a cleft in the mountain
The valley, a cleft in the mountain
The valley, a cleft in the mountain
View of broad valley
View of broad valley
Vertiginous mountain road
Vertiginous mountain road
Sadhbh trying to get more comforta…
Sadhbh trying to get more comfort…
Huaraz Sights & Attractions review
This was a 4 day, 3 night guided trek of the Santa Cruz area near Huaraz. It's the most popular trek in the Cordillera Blanca. Guide Oliver was good … read entire review
Huaraz
photo by: latino28