I´m writing this back in Lima. We finished our time in Northern Peru with some trekking in the Andes, which was nothing short of amazing. Getting burned on beaches is fun, but it can get old after a while, so I was grateful for a chance to get all new sunburns in the mountains (seriously, I cant seem to avoid sunburns here).
We took a bus from Trujillo to Huaraz, which is not all that far. But it involves going from sea level up to 3000m. Huaraz seems to take on the same pace of life as most mountain towns I´ve ever visited. The clean mountain air, the slower pace of life, the white cap mountains in the distance, and the occational vender trying to sell me knock off North Face gear were pleasantly remasicant of my time in Nepal last year.
We went to Huaraz with the intention of doing the Santa Cruz Trek. It´s the most famous trek in the region and it involves 3-4 days of walking through two valleys with one high mountain pass along the way. But in an effort to acclimatize ourselves, we did a day trip to a glacier three hours from Huaraz in the Cordillera Negra mountain range. Its at 5000m, but we were driven almost all the way up so it was nice and easy. Despite some snow up at the glacier, it was a very cool way to get acclimatized.
The next day was spent renting good sleeping bags, a little stove, and buying the food we would need for our trek. We opted to do it without a guide, which meant we had to bring everything we needed with us, from my tiny 2 person MEC tent to maps of the region.
But after everything was all ready to go, we were off. The trek typically takes 4 days, but we managed to finish it in three. The first day involved taking a bus through the mountains on some terrifying roads to the starting point of the trek. But we made it no problem and were off! We walked about 5 hours the first day to our campsite and did some hiking around there to get some great views of the mountains. The next day was the hard one. We set off by 8am and had the pass ahead of us. The day started out at 3800m and we needed to climb up to 4700m over the pass. This proved rather difficult. But after many exhausted breaks and several false guesses as to how high we actually had to climb (to our dismay we had to climb the ridge we had all assumed there was no way on earth we had to go all the way up there), we made it. We were lucky as well because the weather was clear enough to see both sides of the pass. So after enjoying the views, and the beer Julia had been hiding for this very moment, we were headed down the other side to our campsite. The campsite we were aiming for was a little further than we had anticipated, and due to a landslide a few years back, the trail didnt do what the map said, so it was a long walk. But we eventually camped on what once was the banks of a lake, but thanks to the landslide a few years ago is now a dry lake bed, which held its own creepy aesthetic value. The evening was spent making rice, and trying to figure out what the group of wild horses who has assembeled at our campsite wanted (it wasnt food…).
The last day we just went as fast as we could to the end to catch a bus back to Huaraz! Yesterday was recovery. Doing the trek in 3 days comes with a certain amount of pain. We left Huaraz last night, but not before trying one of the local dishes, Cuy. Guinea Pig. Kind of stringy…
We´re in Lima now on our way to Cusco to check out Machu Picchu!