Entre las Nubes

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 25, 2010

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, July 5, 2010

The Santa Cruz trek passes through the Cordillera Blanca, starting in the small village of Vaqueria and finishing 30 miles later in Cashapampa. Getting to the highest pass at 4750m definitely took it's toll, and after 7 hours of walking uphill I distinctly remember looking forward to the downhill stretch before the campsite. The freezing nights and sweltering days (my lack of suncream meant I am very sun burnt right now) didn't make the 4 days particularly easy, but it was definitely worth it.

Our group of 5 (an American mother and son duo, Israeli couple and myself) reached the starting point at around midday, and promptly started the 4 hour walk to the first campsite. Unfortunately, the Israelis were struggling throughout and decided to head back the next day, leaving the three of us to carry on.

As we started the second day I was already feeling the effects of the altitude. I only spent a night in Huaraz and thus didn't get enough time to acclimatise, however, I carried on regardless, hoping I would feel better during the day.

Well... climbing up to 4750m is definitely not the best cure for altitude sickness, and it took me much longer than the others to reach the high pass. Carlos, our guide, even had to help carry my bags at one point as I was almost an hour behind the others, and we had to get to the campsite before sunset. Chewing cocoa leaves did help though; I'm not sure if it's just a placebo effect but at least their bitter taste provides a distraction. Fortunately, (although it isn't much better) our campsite is lower down at 4200m and I was looking forward to the night's dinner - a traditional Peruvian soup followed by spaghetti con hotdogs.

The following two days got easier as we descended to Cashapampa, and I do feel quite proud to have survived the past 4 days.
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