Friday, June 27, 2008

Trekking around the Alpamayo - Part III

There was another long day ahead of us but we were all pumped up for it. Although it was quite cold, the sun was shining and the mountains glistening. The Alpamayo summit (5947 meters) is a white pyramid from this direction and stunning. We also got a clear view of Quintaraju (6036 meters). Our first task was to cross the river close by, made more difficult by the state of the old wooden bridge.

From our campsite at 4200 meters we climbed to the Gara Gara Pass at 4830, a three hour uphill, the last hour in the snow. I followed Geoff who was following Eli, stepping into his footprints, dug into the snow, one breath in, step, then one breath out, step. The donkeys passed us near the top but they were really struggling.
At the top we could see the Santa Cruz peaks, the highest of which is 6241 meters. Looking back we got our last glimpse of the Alpamayo summit with the lovely lake above our last campsite. We sat in the snow for awhile to rest but not for long. Soon we were heading steeply down the other side for another
hour, for some time again in the snow. The last picture below shows Honoree and Walt far in the distance on the trail.
When finally out of the snow we stopped for a break and snack but it was yet another hour before we saw Myoume waiting for us in a sunny grassy spot with our much
anticipated lunch. That afternoon we had a fairly level going for an hour, then a half hour up followed by another hour steeply down. Our legs were really wobbley for that last bit. One exciting event was seeing a pair of condors gliding over the ridges for some time. We also enjoyed meeting a lovely young young woman and her baby up on the ridge. Down below, our tents were set up in a beautiful valley with a few small stone houses and many horses, cows and sheep.

After tea (Myoume made guacamole!) we retreated to our tents and sleeping bags for a rest before dinner. But before Honoree and I hit the sack we did a few pieces of laundry and spread them out on our tents to dry. For a change it was sunny and there was still two hours before dark. We started really early that morning. That's Scott getting some much needed ZZZs.
I got up an hour later to write in my diary and managed to grab everyone's unfortunately still wet laundry off the tents when it started pouring. Dinner was perfect that night - soup, mashed potatoes and beef stew and baked bananas with caramel sauce. Talk about comfort food!

No comments: