Part VI - Peru - Cordillera Huayhuash - Mountainshots

Summary

This is our trip (12 day circuit trek) to Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash. Our good friend Kary joined us. Since no other trekkers signed up, it was just the three of us and our guide Gladys.

Monique and I spent 2 days in Lima before Kary arrived.  Did a bike tour, walked a lot, petted some cats, and ate amazing seafood.  Then with Kary we took the 9 hour bus to Huaraz, at 10,000 feet.  We were there 2 1/2 days, to acclimatize, meet our guide Gladys and do some hikes.  Then a half-day bus to Llamac to start the trek.  The next 12 days we did a "camping style" trek at elevations of 4K-5K Meters (13,000 - 16,400 feet). Then back to Lima and back to the USA.

For this set of photos, I am trying something that Monique suggested a few years ago (and she thinks that I don't listen to her. Ha!). They are grouped by theme. There is no chronological representation. For ordering, many of the photos are pre-cropped to 5x7 dimensions. If you want a different size and are having trouble, just send me a note at mountainshots@gmail.com.

Guide and Company

Our trek was arranged thru Andean Trails and Skyline Adventures. We met Ted and Jenn, the owners of Skyline (they hosted a post-trek dinner). These are great, active people who run an honest and impressive business: Skyline (besides the school they started, the brewery they run and the restaurant they run). Gladys was our guide, Pablo was our cook, and Johnny and Len were our donkey drivers and the general “do it all” guys. More on the team later…. But this team was excellent.

The Daily Plan

This is our second guided trek. The other was in 2012 in Nepal, with Adventure Alpine Gorkha Treks (another great company). We still feel weird being served every meal, not helping with cooking or cleaning, and being on the receiving end of this great service. But it's part of the deal - and a good deal it is.

Anyway, the alarm goes off at 6:10AM every day. You wake and start packing your “donkey duffel”. At 6:30AM Len or Johnny comes to your tent and hands you hot tea. You continue packing and 15 minutes later, Johnny or Len bring each person a large bowl of “agua caliente” so that you can wash up for breakfast. You emerge from your tent in time for the 7AM breakfast. You make your way to the “dining tent” while your tent is packed and your donkey duffel is packed on a donkey. Breakfast could be eggs and ham with toast, pancakes, fruit, etc, with an assortment of jam, peanut butter, Nutella, butter, etc. Hot coffee and tea. Then you casually pack your day pack and hit the trail at 8AM. Meanwhile, Pablo, Johnny and Len have been up since 5AM, starting the routine of finding our donkeys, prepping breakfast, heating water etc. At 8AM, Gladys hands out our snack bags and we hit the trail. Each morning was sunny and beautiful. Gladys knows this mountain range very well. Every trail, every option, every peak. We hike, look for mountains, birds, plants etc. At 10-11AM we stop at a pass or viewpoint and have our snack (fruit, cookies, nuts, chocolate). Continue hiking. Typically, Pablo has caught up by then and passed us, carrying our lunch. He will head to another view point, pass, or lake and wait for us. So around 1PM or so we catch Pablo and he makes a tuna salad, chicken and potatoes, hot tea, etc. After lunch, continue hiking until we hit camp, typically 3PM or so, I think. At camp, the tents are already set up, and your donkey duffel is sitting just outside the vestibule. Unpack the bags, filter water, wash clothes, etc. Soon there is another big bowl of hot water for each person, and hot tea. Soon the dining tent table has hot water, tea, and plates of snacks. This is Uno time, playing cards and relaxing with hot tea and snacks (sometimes beer and wine) Dinner is between 6 and 7PM. Always starts with hot soup. Then the main course could be fresh trout with rice and french fries, chicken with vegetables, pasta, etc. Dessert is pudding, fruit, etc. Many evenings we had beer and/or wine with dinner and Uno. By 8:30PM we were usually in our tents, winding down for the day.