We are BACK from PERU, had an amazing time but also happy to be back in the Lake District to enjoying the weather and trails. (Unfortunately all it has done since we got back is rain!)
16.07.15 - 19.07.15 England - Peru
Eventually we landed in Peru with Paddington who wanted an adventure in his homeland. A taxi across Lima (about £15 pound and took 1hr 45) through an extremely busy city with lights glowing around us dropped us at the bus station. An overnight bus took us to the city of Huaraz the main starting point for adventures into the Cordilleras.
Excited to be in Huaraz we had a day learning to breath at 3060m and then headed out on a local trail. This took us up dirt tracks, passed the Hoff (hostel) for a quick drink and on to Pitec the start of the 'Pitec descent'. After a chill in the sun at 3860m we headed down a flowy trail with chutes and a few rock gardens. The book describes it as being fast, unfortunately not for us due to the amount of yelling we had to do at dogs that LOVE bikes. (Surprised we didn't get bitten on our 1st day of biking)
|Stopping for a glance down towards Huaraz|
|Enjoying a dog free section|
We convinced a trekking day trip to take us and the bikes to the start of the Laguna 69 trail. An early start of 5am with a 4hr bus journey occurred with a stop at Chinancocha lake for breakfast. We pushed and biked along side walkers up to Laguna 69 at 4600m. Beautiful views, a bite to eat, some sunbathing and finally an amazing descent of loose rocks, tight switchbacks, dropoffs and swooping trails. The Laguna 69 trek on a bike was a hike a bike but rewarded us with fantastic views and a brill downhill. One of the best trails of the holiday.
|Enjoying the sun|
|Thought this lake was Laguna 69 - no, lots more hike a bike needed!|
|Loving the views|
|Smiling after 1st part of the descent.|
After getting a taxi to Olleros the aim of the day was to get to lake Tararhua. Unfortunately we took a wrong turning and ended up on some tiny 'chakinani' singletrack. Great fun with a hike a bike across a few hillsides, a skinny singletrack (draingage/channel track) to get us back to a 4wd track that we should have been on 5hrs earlier! Not enough time to go on, we whizzed back down and along the tarmac to Huaraz.
|Wrong turning (Admiring the view instead)|
|Practising carrying for Huayhuash|
|View towards Lake Tararhua|
Paddington was getting tired so a day of relaxing before giving the Huayhuash trail a bash. Enjoyed a trip on a collectivo to thermal baths at Monterrey followed by prep time and early to bed.
|Paddington enjoying a swim with Paul|
|Time to relax in the sun|
23.07.15 Huaraz (3060m)- Quartelhuain (4170m)
Time had come to give it a whirl. All packed up we creeped out of the hostel at 4.40am and headed up to El Rapido bus station. The bikes were dismantled and popped in the boot, unfortunately a massive sign was unable to fit in! A sleepy bus ride took us to Chiquian where we then boarded another bus to Pocpa. A bumpy road with views, drops and tight corners took us out into the country with many locals jumping on. People met, chatted, swapped goods as they made their way to the market at Llamac. We continued to Pocpa the final destination arriving a few hours later, we loaded the bikes up and said goodbye to civilisation as we headed out on the track.....(with a few stops for the loo...grrrrrr I think I was beginning with a stomach bug!) After 9 miles and about 800metres of ascent we arrived at Quartelhuain, yippee our first camp at 4170m. It was 2pm, Paul was keen to get the first pass crossed but due to me not feeling on top form I convinced him to rest and sleep here. As darkness arrived at 6.15pm it was time for a very early night with a few dashes in the night to the loo!
|Waiting at Chiquian for the next bus.|
|Pocpa, preparing to set off|
|The stunning views begin to appear as we leave civilisation behind|
|Paddington whispers, "I'll have a rest here whilst you set up camp!"|
|Time to drink and relax before zzzzzzzzzzz.|
24.07.15 Quartelhuain (4170m) - Inchuain by Laguna Carhuacocha (4150m)
Never heard the alarm so woke up a little later than we wanted at 6am with a frozen tent. Feeling a bit better after many hours of sleep we headed up the first pass, more or less walking with bikes from the start. This was the first opportunity for us to master the skills of getting our loaded bikes up mountains whilst being out of breath. (A few suggestions from Paddington were appreciated) Push? Carry? Push with extra bags on back? Bags on back, prop bike on bags and carry? Balance and scramble? Trialling different methods we eventually made it to the top Cacananpunta 4690m for 10.30am. Tight, loose, rocky switchbacks followed by flowing, flat singletrack descended us down to Janca 4230m. Time to cook up some dehydrated mush for lunch, a rest and then on we went heading up steep but also steady singletrack until we reached Carhuac (Yana Punta) 4630m. The views ahead of us took away the tiredness and refuelled our legs in preparation for a stunning descent. Fantastic flowy track enticed us down the mountain, frequently encouraging us to stop to absorb the mountains around us whilst our fingers snapped photos that would embed images in our brains of this place forever. Grinning from the experience we set up camp at Inchuain, listening to occasional avalanches thundering from a nearby glacier. A trekker we had met on the previous day provided us with the best popcorn I had ever tasted, before attempts of eating and then sleeping. (Sadly, the camera did not capture the stars above!)
|Packing up camp, a bit chilly before the sun hits.|
|Pushing for a bit up the first pass of the day|
|Views as we approach Cacananpunta|
|Time to get back on and enjoy.|
|Loving the first descent|
|Resting the hands after the bumpy section now for flowy track|
|That push up was worth it.|
|Waiting for Fi, time to eat lunch.|
|Lunch in the tum, time to pedal a few metres.|
|Second pass done, now time to soak in the views.|
|Heading towards camp|
|Popcorn forced upon us.|
|Listening to avalanches as dust approached|
After attempting to eat (a dog enjoyed mine) and stuffing an icy tent into our bags we prepared to set off as the first glimpses of sunlight began to cascade on the camp. Along the southern shore of the lake we rode and walked, across a shingle covered valley until we reached laguna Siula. We ditched our bikes here and headed up to a spectacular viewpoint of the 3 lakes. A quick rest at the laguna before a gruelling climb of carrying, pushing and resting was upon us. Luckily for Paddington he hitched a lift in Paul's bag! Our lungs were unsure of what was happening as we struggled up one of the hardest climbs Paul or I had ever experienced. (Wish I had hired a mule at this point to carry my 30kg of stuff) At last it became easier for a little time before the final 200 metres of steep zigzags and the feeling of one step forward two back. Zapping our energy we made it to Siula Punta (4830m) through gritted teeth and the determination to see more mesmerising views. Time to enjoy the descent, we hurtled down loose rocks followed by lumpy grass leading us to contour around laguna Carnicero. I was shocked when Paul declared 'He was tired!' Words I'd never heard from him before! So we stopped for a bar and then undulated along to a view of camp Huayhuash. Joyfully we descended the final hill, exhausted and ravenous. Setting up camp the sun disappeared so we retired to the tent to rest and eat.
|Setting off from camp|
|Tackling the southern shore of Carhuacoche|
|Sun starting to warm us up|
|Viewpoint before a gruelling climb|
|Paddington helping us refill our water|
|Yes we made it to Siula Punta|
|Enjoying the loose rocks and awesome views|
|Paddington showing us how it is done!|
|Lumpy grass riding|
|Contouring around laguna Carnicero|
It was a chilly night with the altitude affecting sleep and eating for me! Ice inside tent again we did the usual morning jobs, stopping occasionally to try and get some life into the finger tips. A steady climb with some riding greeted us as we made progress up to Portachuelo de Huayhuash. The descent down to Laguna Viconga was mostly rideable with more amazing scenery. We contoured around the Laguna with a short climb and then a technical descent down to Viconga camp for the night. A short day provided us with time to relax in the thermal baths, try to eat and drink coke from the shop.
|The hill begins|
|Enjoying a track we can ride|
|Climbing up Portachuelo de Huayhuash|
|Time for a technical descent|
|Enjoying the thermal baths|
27.07.15 Viconga (4360m) - Cajatambo
We set off but after an hour I was unable to carry on upwards, tears flowed as I realised this. Headache, the onset of dizziness and being unable to carry my stuff with the lack of food for the last few days had become enough! So we headed back past Viconga and down towards Cajatambo on a track, until a climb of winding corners brought us to the top of a hill with views down to Cajatambo. We decided to take the trekkers route down, a bouldery, steep singletrack often riding and occasionally walking. As we came closer we could hear music maybe to greet us or maybe for the 'national' festival? Riding down the streets we watched the festival as 'tourists' do, then after a few hours caught a bus to the coast. It should have taken 3 hrs, 6hrs later we arrived at Pativilica and with others convinced a coach to take us to Huaraz, arriving in the early hours. We spent a few hours hanging around until morning and then enjoyed a relaxing breakfast in a cafe. An amazing journey with views that we will never forget. Maybe one day we will go back and try again with a little support from some donkeys!