Huarez, Cordilleras Blancas

Trip Start Aug 28, 2004
Trip End Aug 2005

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Monday, April 25, 2005

We arrived in "Huarez" after a 10 hour bus ride, in not too bad shape but needing sleep. One of two things can happen at this point at 5am 1/ no where open 2/ hotel touts blocking your exit from the bus.

The latter greeted us, and as we were the only two tourists and in not much shape to negotiate. Heike´s technique is to point at me.
We ended up at a nice little place with erratic hot water, and after promising to hear the tour guide spiel in 4 hours sank into a very comfortable bed. Next morning we waited for our guide at the appointed hour 6am, 30 minutes later we were wondering whether it had been such a good idea to stump up the $240 upfront, without the actual goods before us. but you hope and can pretty much 99% of the time trust youir gut instinct (as a nearly savvy traveller of the globe).

Finally a guy turned up and motioned with the age old two finger walking gesture, to follow him. Not quite the English speaking guide we,d paid for.....
But all was well when he in turn introduced us to Edgar, our Peruvian Guide, who over the next few days would provided us with much information of the local Chechwar (I don{t know whether that is the correct spelling but you haven´t got a clue either) names of mountains, wildlife and floral and fauna. He also showed us which plants could be used for which ailments and most importantly the way.

Day one was an hour long minibus trip packed with enough space if you´re a midget that is. Then we transferred into a taxi when even though the car was full, went in circles through a market trying to pick up other customers. Three cramped hours later we had wound our way up through amazing scenery and mountain villages at one point stopping to let a digger remove rubble that had been diamited.
I only know this because as we waited to men were ramming fuses into more dinamite which didnt look altogether safe. But only six feet away jammed into my seat i guesses i would soon know.

We arrived high up in the mountains only to walk down into a lush valley, with the smell of fresh mountain air and alpine flowers. After a couple of hours we stopped by the rushing stream we had been following to have lunch it was ideallic.
And I was bitten by the most ferocious of insects, well I never did find out; but my arm swelled up quite alarmingly. We pressed on for two hours this time up and made camp.
The weather had been gloriuos all day we just got the tents up as the heavens opened, poor old Edger made our dinner in the most apoling conditions.

Day 2; we started te day with a little visitor El Chico (dog), supping hot Coco leaf tea and watching the "Humming birds" feed on the nectar of the flowers. I ask you where in Lincoln/UK would you be greeted with that sight in the early morning? (It was worth getting up at silly o{clock just for that experience). We walked for about six hours sometimes on the flat, sometimes on very steep inclines which the path had to switch back and forth but all the time we were surrounded by the most outstanding scenery, green valleys, rock faces that had been chiselled by age and weather, snow and ice topped mountains,flowers and birds we camped at about 3,500 meters. Again it was hot and sunny until we pit ourtents up great timing.

Day 3; Was up and up, to 4750 meter pass, what a view, Edger gave us "Coco" leaves to munch on, to help with the altitute. The clouds that hung above mountains waited until we have taken in the scene posed for photos before they started to sink towards us.The natural gap in the rock that separated one valley with the other was just big enough for two people. The scene on the other side was more rugged as we headed down. After 7 hours hard slog we made camp.

Day 4; Another fine day walking passed local people who live in the mountains with their vertical fields and cattle. The women dressed in oranges purples and reds topped off with a very high trilby type hat and the usual dirty faced kids facinated to see who these mad sods were, who choose to walk up the mountains for fun. The last hour was a steep climb to the end of a road were we waited for an hour to catch a minibus.
Four hours down the most narrow switchback mountain roads passed the skeleton of a bus (24 people were killed and many more injured) that hadnt quite made it. The views were something else, all be it a little too close to the edge.

Thankyou Edgar for a truly spectacular and safe time trekking it was great but totally knackering!. We fully recommend anyone coming out to Peru to have a go, it is far less bombarded by touristville and far cheaper than the Machu Piccu options offered in Cusco city. The views are truly spectacular and just worth all the early rises and tough uphill grind at times.....
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