Out of the Canyon and on to Nazca

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Aug 15, 2006

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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

So...Monday morning, we got up early and headed from Chivay to the Cruz del Condor, a spot in the Colca Canyon where the Condors nest in the cliffs and fly early in the AM to take in the sun and take advantage of the upcurrents caused by the heating of the air in the canyon. We hiked for about 45 minutes along the cliff, and then got to see probably 30 birds or so...It was a gorgous way to start the morning...They did just circle around riding the air currents, and not needing the flap their wings hardly at all. The birds wingspan is between 2 and 3 meters...HUGE.

After watching for about an hour or so, we headed back to Chivay for lunch and then back to Arequipa. From there, we caught a night bus to Nazca...most of the buses were sold out, so we ended up paying more than we would have liked, but got the two seats next to the driver, so they were super secure.

When we arrived in Nazca, we were greeted (at 3 AM!!!) by the NICEST peruvian guy that we have met yet. Fernando owns and operates the Hostel Camiluz, a new spot in Nazca. He was waiting for us at the bus station, took us to the hotel, and gave us a super comfortable room. We rested till the morning, had a fantastic breakfast from him, and then just ran around town until our sandboarding trip. Fernando insisted on taking us in his car to town...crazy nice! Ricky, our sandboarding guide, met us around noon, and we rode for about 30 minutes up towards Cerro Blanco, a 2078 meter high sand dune outside of Nazca. The car dropped us off, and we started our 3 hour hike up towards the dune. It looked so far away when we started...I thought it was maybe unreachable. It was super hot, and we were hiking uphill, but it was gorgeous...desert all around, similar to the landscape near the Grand Canyon. You could all the time see the dune in the distance, but it was hard to see if we were making progress. When we finally got to the dune, we still had about 1 hour hiking up in the sand, but it was fun...the beauty really made up for the tough trek. We got to the top, surrounded by sand, and strapped on our boards...Ricky took a couple of small dunes to show us how, and suprisingly, we got the hang of it pretty quickly. (It was somewhat similar to snowboarding, but not totally...the sand really does a number on the board.) Then we just cruised, with one hand touching the sand, legs bent, and being careful not to go too fast...I took a couple of tumbles, but the sand was really soft. When we got to the bottom, we definitely had sand everywhere...but it was totally worth it...over a kilometer of boarding, a fantastic view and then a hike to the road for sunset. What a DAY!!! Nate has some good photos, that we will hopefully post soon.

We got back and though dirty, we headed to the planetarium to learn about the Nazca lines...they are an archeological site that no one can really explain, but are HUGE...kind of like Stonehenge or something. Theories are that either the Nazca people (200 BC) walked the lines to worship their Gods, or that they were built to somehow map the water sources (either underground or toward the river), or that they somehow mapped the astronomy of the time...anyway, the show was informative, and afterward, we got to take a look through the powerful telescope that could see even craters on the moon...and jupiters 4 moons too! Cool.

We finally showered after the show, then ate Chinese food (had to have something different) with Ricky, and headed to bed. Cassie arrived about 2 or 3 am last night, and we found out this morning (again, chalk it up to the super gracious hostel and tour agency!!!) that Ricky met her at the bus station and gave her a cab ride to the place...wow! They really are taking care of us.

This morning, we got up to find out that the weather is not so good, so we have to wait for our flight over the Nazca lines until 3 pm. We are going to maybe go see some of the other small sites around here, and then head to Lima tonight on the bus...

love to you all.
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mldungey on

New second cousin
born aug. 1st. Jackson Drake Commandeur. 8 lbs 8 oz. 21 1/2 inches long. Mama and baby are fine. Jackson is from Jacksonville and Drake apparently has something to do with fly fishing. They will call him Jack. love, Lulu

thedays on

Re: New second cousin
CONGRATS to Jenni and Dirk (& Luke). Glad that Jack arrived safely! We are so thrilled to have yet another member of this fantastic family. Can´t wait to spend more time with you guys when we move to Jax...love to all.

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