Monday, June 23, 2008

Trekking around the Alpamayo - Part VII

There are only three days left to our trek. It's another early start but with a good send off as breakfast includes fried eggs with veggies. It's a beautiful morning and a lovely trail slowly descending the valley. More and more houses appear along with lots of children, all looking for a little present. We have brought pens and small pads of pencils. For some of the smaller children we have candies.

Everyone is excited and for hours we have some company. This was a long day but very interesting as we passed through several small villages. Finally we came to the end of the road and for the first time, walked where cars could drive. We only saw a few small buses in fact and they were packed, both inside

and out. This last but one campsite was near a large stream that now and in the past had been used for power generation.
The next day was all uphill to the Glacier Camp and it's our most amazing tent site. We can look directly across to a series of glaciers above two steel blue lakes.

Avalanches are constantly falling from one to the other and all night long we can hear the rumbling and crashing!
This is our highest camp and in the morning the tents are covered with frost and snow. It is only an hour and a half to the top of the Punta Yanayacu pass (4900 meters), but

it's a challenging trip. At one point the trail is cut into the rock with only a narrow ledge between cliffs up and down. A heavy mist shrouds the view and maybe it's just as well. The top of the pass is a knife edge and it's all snow on the other side. We go down very carefully as it's a steep drop off. The views are

fabulous as always and here we see the highest peaks in this region, Nevado Huascaran - Norte (6664) and Sur (6768), more than 6,000 feet above us. It's three hours downhill further to lunch and we collapse gratefully for our last meal on the trek.

Afterwards we have only an hour walk through what looks like a garden. That this occurs naturally is amazing. Lupine makes a carpet of purple and Chocolata tree hang over it cascading yellow flowers. Waterfalls tumble down the cliffs and up above them white peaks. It's a terrific last day on the trail and the sight

of the van is a mixed blessing. Showers, toilets with seats and soft beds beckon but the thought of saying goodbye to Eli and the rest of the crew is hard. Scott and I really hope to return one day and revisit the Cordilla Blanca with Peruvian Andes Adventures.

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