Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trekking around the Alpamayo - Part V

After my encounter with the bull another valley opened up below with another hanging glacier and peaks, Nevada Taulliraju (5830 meters). We heard a crack and rumble as a landslide occurred high up. For the next several hours we hiked downhill through pastures of flowers and flowering trees. We're glad to be here in May
to see this as it mostly dries up by the end of the month. The less attractive aspects of this time of year however are the hail, up to 1/4" balls, which now fell, and the mud & donkey shit combination which made the path a quagmire. Happily the flowers, butterflys and birds kept us from becoming fixated with our footing.

Unhappily for me, I slipped and fell in the mud - wet but not hurt.
For one of the first times we hiked through a forest, in this case of Quenual trees, which grow at a higher elevation than any other trees - up to 4800 meters. The trees are gnarled and covered with moss. They reminded me of Fanghorn in MiddleEarth (see picture above right).
Eventually we reached the river and looked for a bridge. It had been destroyed so we took turns on the horse with poor Roger leading him in bare feet. From there it was another steep climb to our campsite by Lake Huecrucacha. It was 4PM when we arrived and tea was waiting - after 8 1/2 hours of hiking we were sure ready to stop.
My hands and wrists were swelling badly each day - on this one you couldn't see my knuckles and luckily had taken my watch off earlier. In the mornings I'm back to normal. I'm trying to hold them up or hook them on my shoulder straps.
It poured during the night but happily the sun was out the next morning. We had a rest day! Honoree and I washed our hair and laundry. Roger left early to pick up our lamb, ordered from a nearby farm earlier.

When he returned empty handed it appeared the lamb wasn't healthy looking. So there went our last chickens! Myoume trimmed a lot of artichokes for the bottoms and then poached them, serving them in a salad with mushrooms, sweet potatoes and a lot of lemon. Scott, Honoree and Geoff went with Eli up to a nearby lake in the afternoon but Walt and I were glad to take the whole day off.
That charming little tent out on it's own is our toilet tent. It encloses a deep round hole and a roll of toilet paper. If you are planning a trek and want to get in shape, don't forget to practice your squats!

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