Part 2 Peru

Full of cold and sat inside avoiding the rubbish weather I've at last had time to load up some pics for second part of the hol and write a few words.  It already seems a lifetime ago and looking back at the pictures of this section it reminds me of an amazing place full of history and some fantastic singletrack of course.

After attempting the Huayhuash trail we headed over to Cusco and then on to Ollantaytambo where we based ourselves for a few weeks so we could easily adventure out into the Inca ruins and trails.  After 3 nights without a bed,  pizza, a walk to some ruins, bike building and an early night was much appreciated.  Bikes made up we woke refreshed and were keen to get out and become breathless again!

Incca Raccay and Q'ormarca - the legs  remembered what biking was with us soon getting off to push.  The mountain was rewarded with tight loose switchbacks and then a track for a little time until Paul encouraged me to climb back up and over to the other side to a ridge line, by the bottom he was grinning like a cheshire cat!  A stop off at Naupia Iglesia which is believed to be a burial place for the royals or/and a religious shrine before heading back along by the river.

Incca Raccay
Naupia Iglesia

Las Canterras quarries and Inti Punku (Sun gate)
A few hours of biking, pushing and carrying was rewarded with an amazing view of the four valleys and Mt Veronica from the Sun Gate before we turned around and swiftly headed down the same way. Down to the quarries was technical with rocky sections and switchbacks, after the quarries some good old Inca steps followed by a long flowy section back to ice-creams!
Enjoying a rest before more climbing
Nearly there!
Inti Punku

Enjoying the view from the top of Mt. Veronica

Inca steps
Heading down to Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo - Moray - Salt mines- Pinchingoto - Ollantaytambo
A long and windy track finally landed us in Moray with music and hundreds of people celebrating the start of the new year (Quecha celebration).  Enjoying a bite to eat whilst observing we ended up chatting to a mountain biker from Lima. We all headed down towards the Salt mines a popular biking route and before long had bumped into a ride leader he knew that was happy for us all to ride together.  We said our goodbyes after a trip around the salt mines which Paddington wanted to go swimming in and then enjoyed a bit of singletrack that took us down to Pinchingoto.  Refreshments quickly slurped before a trudge back along the river.
Celebrations at Moray

Salt Mines

Please, please can I jump in, it's too hot!

Chinchero - Urquillos canyon - Urumba
Yeah a taxi at last to Urumba, in hindsight should have taken it all the way to Chinchero but never mind it gave the legs a bit of a work out! After biking uphill for a few hours on and off the highway we reached Chinchero for a much desired lunch. Tummies full we bumped up and down Urquillos canyon which is an Inca trail that winds its way down the side of the canyon.  Pauls' cheshire cat smile came back as the trail became more technical with steep steps, sharp corners and no acceptance for mistakes(A drop you would not return from!).  A phenomenal trail and definitely worth doing especially if you get a taxi to the top.  
Enjoying the ruins at the top of Urquillos Canyon.
Steps galore on this trail
Stopping to appreciate the magnificence of the canyon

Contouring along
More steps!
Just a few pictures of this awe inspiring place.  The remarkability and respect for this place came upon me after wandering around for many hours observing the skill and sheer determination put into creating Machu Picchu.  I feel honoured to have had the privilege to experience Machu Picchu and the surrounding ruins in the Sacred Valley.
Paddington eager to hop on board.

Machu Picchu mountain

Selfie!!!  Without the stick.
Hello friend
A trail recommended to us by the hostel and definitely worth it, flowy and bumpy, amazing views and the first gate of the hols!
Setting off from Ollantaytambo centre

Pumamarca trail

Abra Tastallyoq
Being a bit cream crackered by now especially from the walking up the steps at Machu Picchu then running down them all so we didn't miss the train we decided to get a taxi up the road section of this route. However, the only cash machine in town had NO MONEY in it so a day of climbing happened. We ascended more than 3000m climbing uphill biking, pushing and carrying from 9am till 4 ish to 4700 metres.  Was it worth it? YES, YES, YES the descent to Patacancha was one of the best we had ever down!  It was like a box of liquorice allsorts - a real mixture of flowy to steep, rocky drop offs. Pauls' cheshire cat grin was the biggest ever by the time we dropped down into Ollantaytambo with dusk upon us. (Unfortunately not many pics of descent due to trying to get down before it went dark!)

Climbing up the long and windy road!

Off the road at last
Still trying to smile 

At the top ready to descend to the right
Hello Friends

Track from Patacancha

A few days off biking were enjoyed with a mini trip into the Manu Jungle.

Heading into the jungle
Time to travel along the river

Butterfly enjoying the heat like us

Hello Friend
Paddingtons' favourite new friend

Time to relax

Hello Friend

Just a little bit of rain!
Back to Ollantaytambo for a few days riding before a long journey home.  Unfortunately a few days of rain which meant snow at the top of the passes.  We had fun finding the Inca Downhill course (a bit on the road until the snow line then trail) sorry not many pics due to cold hands!  Like being back in England on a cold and wet winters day.

Start of Inca Downhill
 A snowy, rainy, wet and soggy day - Abra Lares and Calca
Still good enough to ride

Fantastic canyon down to Calca

Thanks PERU: a holiday we will never forget and a happy Paddington at the airport that got a marmalade sandwich for being a fantastic tour guide.

 Part 1 Peru

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
 20.07.15 - Laguna 69
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!
Laguna 69

Loving the views

Smiling after 1st part of the descent.

21.07.15 Lake Tararhua (nearly!)
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

22.07.15 Relax
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.

Laguna Carhuacocha

Heading towards camp
Popcorn forced upon us.

Listening to avalanches as dust approached
25.07.15  Laguna Carhuacocha (4150m) - Huayhuash (4350m)
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

Loooking ahead
Carrying begins

Quick rest

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

Getting closer!
26.07.07 Huayhuash (4350m) - Viconga (4360m)
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.
Chilly start

The hill begins

Enjoying a track we can ride
Climbing up Portachuelo de Huayhuash

Keep pushing

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!
Setting off 

Heading back passed Viconga Camp

Looking back!

Enjoying trekkers route down to Cajatambo


Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus!!

View from the bus as we hurtle down

Arriving in Huaraz


The plan for the Peru trip came one wet day in the Lakes when we were waiting for the sun to come out. We were passing the time of day by watching Epic TV and came across a bike video on the Cordillera Huayhuash trekking route and thought nothing of it.  About three weeks later I asked Fi,  "Do you fancy going to Peru instead of Europe this year?"  Her reply was, "Why?"   I hinted, " Do you remember that biking video about the Huayhuash route?"  It did not take a lot of persuading due to the fact Fi has always wanted to go to South America (Rainforest, Inca Ruins, amazing mountains and now fantastic biking.)  Hence the next rainy day we booked the flights and the bus from Lima to Huaraz and ordered some maps.
Yeah the planning has started now.......
The key thing we are looking to get out of this trip is  
This is the key point to any trip, so I here you ask what is the Huayhuash?  
Well it's normally a trekking route in the Cordilleras area of Peru.
The stats
 Start : Quartelhuain 
Finish : Llamac 
Days : 7-14 (walking )
Distance : 110km+
Max Alt : 5060m 
daily Climb : 650m
What the book says about biking it: 
'The Cordillera Huayhuash makes an epic multi-day bikepack; but it's by no means an easy one.  From a mountain biker's perspective, the flowy, rocky and technical trails are hard fought, especially at such high elevations.  Many of the climbs are unrideable, so travel light and expect extended
 hike `n bikes.  Aside from the time taken to manhandle your bike over several high passes, allow for inclement weather to slow progress too.
These challenges aside, the majority of the trail from Quartelhuain to Huayllapa is eminently rideable and laced with some of the finest ribbons of backcountry singletrack you could hope for.  Certainly, the experience of riding them is heightened by their sense of context and the magnitude of the mountains around.'
Sounds amazing to us therefore the plan so far is to stay in Huaraz for about a week biking the local trails and getting acclimatised before attempting the Huayhaush.

Hello friend

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