The hiking Mecca of Cordillera Blanca

Trip Start Dec 08, 2004
Trip End Dec 07, 2005

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Monday, July 18, 2005

This is what the book says about Huaraz:

"The Valley of Callejon de Huaylas is one of the best places in South America to enjoy superb mountain scenery and plenty of outdoor activities. The main destination for visitors to the Callejon de Huaylas is the city of Huaraz, about 8 hours by bus from Lima. The setting of the city, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca, is spectacular. You can see over 20 snow-capped peaks over 5000 meters, of which the most notable is Huascaran (6,768m), the highest mountain in Peru."

And its true :)

We spent a few days in Huaraz just chilling (yes we do seem to do rather alot of that)but it was hard to do anything else. All plans and schedules have to go out of the window when altitude come into play, life at 3100m is hard work. We did manage a trip up to a mirador which is a big cross on a mountain over looking the city. Also an excellent night out with Vicky and Stacey to a jazz bar complete with Giant Jenga and rude introduction to the Peruvian brew Pisco. Lets just say we hadn't been out for a while so we didnt hold back. You know you really should go home when you are doing MC Hammer dancing and thinking you look cool:)

Eventually feeling almost human and able to breath we hired some mountain bikes for the day. Yep our favourite type of mountain biking ..... Downhill Mountain Biking!!!!
We took an early morning bus for 3 hours and 4890m up a mountain track and then rode/sped/skidded all the way back down. It was excellent fun speeding down the mountain track although a little unnerving when we passed the twisted remains of a bus that had gone over the edge this April.

Halfway down are the beautiful turquoise glacier fed Llanganuco Lakes, the colours were so vibrant and intense. The scenery was some of the most dramatic and spectacular panoramas weve seen in the Andeas. I know we say this every time but the immense beauty of these countries never ceases to suprise us. The huge snowcapped mountains towering above and sunny grassy meadows and vibrant blue lakes, apart from the fact they are at ridiculous altitude it was truly breathtaking.

It took us 6 hours to get down to the bottom! Bottom being the operative word!

I even got a blister, Ouch :)
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