Beautiful canyon, nightmare trek!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Jun 19, 2013

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

We booked a tourist van to take us to Cabanaconde, a village at the top of the Colca Canyon with a stop along the way to see the condors. Unfortunately this meant a 3am pick up so we could see these beautiful birds flying the thermals before it got to hot. We arrived after a long 5 hour drive with a rubbish breakfast stop off, I now hate bread and Jam! Mark took some awesome photos of the condors and it was lovely to see these rare birds take to the skies. 
We finally arrived at Cabanaconde around 10.30 and found a little guesthouse called Pachamama, we spoke with a nice guy who gave us loads of information about the treks in the canyon. I had it originally in my head that the treks wouldn't be too hard, other than the last ascent (which I would do by mule) as it is apparently a tough climb! To get down into the canyon on the first day it takes about 5hours, then across on the 2nd day to the oasis takes 4-5hours and to get out you walk up for about 4 hours. I was optimistic, and was happy with the plan knowing I could always get a mule up on the last day if it was to much for me. 
So anyway, we left Pachamama after some early lunch and decided to make it to the hot springs on our first day. We got a bit lost at first but we seemed to keep to the trail. The views were gorgeous and we could clearly make out the hot springs and oasis with the route in between. We had to walk about 10km from 3200m to 2000m. As it is mainly downhill you would expect this to be very easy, probably the easiest of the 3 treks. I found it horrible to be honest, the trail was rubbish with very loose gravel, huge rocks that moved and lots of fine sand making it very hard to descend. There were plenty of times I fell over with a huge drop next to the half a meter trail. I spent so much time taking it slow and watching my feet it was hard to enjoy the views and trek. As we were constantly walking down hill my legs started to shake a lot and this made my knees sore too. To make it worse it was really hot and we had been up since 2.30am. It sounds like Im doing a lot of moaning here, well the truth is, I did! Poor Mark! I hated this trek and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of a drink and hot springs at the end. 
So after about 6 hours of pain we finally arrived at the lodge and checked in to our basic but nice bungalow. Think dirt floor with a bed on bamboo stilts and many holes in the bamboo walls. But it did for 8 quid. The hot springs were very nice and we both relaxed our achy muscles and blistered feet. I then decided I would not complete the rest of the trek as our hotel owner said there was a truck/bus that went back up to Cabanconde every other day. 
So we spent the next full day at the lodge, enjoyed the hot springs to ourselves, played spanish monopoly (which tested our spanish skills), which of course Mark won, and generally just chilled out. The food was pretty basic and by the end of our stay we were craving meat. 
The morning came we would need to trek back up the hill to the main road to catch the bus. We waited and waited but after 3 and a half hours we began to get hungry with no sign of the bus. We gave up and Mark trekked the 30 minutes back down to the lodge to ask if they could arrange transport. Of course they could, it would cost us 50 though. In the end we had to take this option, it felt almost like the owner had made the whole bus thing up just so they could take us back in there extremely expensive pick up truck but I wasn't in the mood to contest.
After a 2 hour drive on the worse road ever, we arrived back at Pachamama, took a much needed shower and then ate some tasty pizza. We were happy to be leaving in the morning but like most things on our canyon trip even leaving wouldn't be simple. The bus was delayed by 4 hours, now of course these things happen but there is nothing to do in Cabanaconde so we got very bored and impatient. 
Overall I wish I hadn't bothered coming to the Colca Canyon, maybe I should have done more research, or maybe I should finally admit that trekking just isn't for me.
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katclassy on

This sounded like a very harsh hike...similar to some I have been on...thankfully you are all ok,

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