After arriving at the hostel I was shown to a four bed dorm that for some reason no one else used during my entire stay. It always surprises me that people will not spend an extra 70p and will stay in an 8 bed dorm instead. I don’t like the bigger dorms as more people means there will always be someone coming in really late or getting up early and I’ve realised that I often get the smaller dorms to myself. I suppose some people sleep better and others must be on a smaller budget. Speaking of which I really need to learn to cut back.
I showered and then relaxed in the room before getting another pizza from the place I loved and then had an early night with some beers.
The next day I awoke late and then finally had a rest day. It was fairly uneventful with me stocking up at the supermarket, finding bread, which is not as easy to locate in South America as you might think, and setting up tours for the next day. I was torn between Laguna 69, Largo Paron (the lake from the Paramount mountain) and Laguna Churup. There are so many hikes out of Huaraz but I couldn’t do all of them. I opted to do Laguna Churup on Friday and one of the others the following day. Laguna Churup is only an hour from Huaraz and you can go solo via collectivo, also you have to climb up ropes which sounds fun. I found a girls blog crying about how dangerous it is to go down, there is another path you can take, so I wanted to try it.
To get to the other lagunas there is no public transport so you have to do a tour. I went back to the company I had used for Santa Cruz and got talking to a German girl. She suggested Laguna 69 as for Paron it really was just driving to the lake with no hiking. So that settled it for me. I was told the bus would pick me up at 5am so it would be yet again another early start. I booked the trek and returned to the hostel to prepare for the hike. I can’t remember what I did for dinner on this day.
The next day I awoke around four, dressed and was picked up around 5am. I was the first on the minibus and I was driven around the town picking up people until we met with a large bus where we switched seats. It was a three hour journey and followed most of the same road as the Santa Cruz trek. We stopped at the same place for breakfast but this time I had prepared food, paid the entrance fee again, I wasn’t sure if I should still have access from the time I went for Santa Cruz and the blogs suggested not but either way I didn’t have he ticket as the guide kept it.
After around an hour of travel we stopped at the same verde lake I’d seen before and then very soon arrived at the trail head. The guide gave the instructions in both English and Spanish and I was impressed that I understood the Spanish instructions which he spoke first. But since I’ve realised I don’t understand most people in real life. Still, it’s a start. The idea of the trek is that we all walk up to the lake, the guide will join but we don’t have to keep as a group. It should take 3 hours to arrive at the lake, which gives us one hour at the lake, 2 hours to return to the bus which will leave at 3pm getting us to Huaraz around 6pm. It’s a long day and we would be going up to 4600 in altitude. This is actually suggested as one of the hikes oh should do to acclimatise for Santa Cruz and Huayhuash treks. But I was doing it after.
I was one of the first off the bus and directed by the guide to start walking. I did and stayed near the front of the pack for the hike. It’s starts with a very short down and the first few kilometres are along the valley floor which rises gently.
The next section involves more up with switchbacks. It’s nothing tonight or steep compared to what I’ve done before but it’s definitely more taxing. There is a huge waterfall which drops into the valley and it’s up towards the waterfall where te path eventually heads. Above this you can start seeing the white mountain tops which safe up at 6000 metres, but sadly for me some where covered totally in cloud all day.
Just as I reached the top I took some shots of the valley that I had just walked up.
At the top you are greeted by another lake and after walking around this another valley. The path takes you around the edge almost in a half circle and then it’s the hard climb.
The last climb is hard not only because it is much steeper but also because it’s high altitude, it was hot and really hard to breath. On the climb I over took most of the people who were ahead of me and at this point there is only around 1km to go, the last is always the hardest.
The photo above is once is reached the top and was approaching the lake. I was up here at just over two hours, which meant there were a handful of others at the lake when I arrived. However I did start feeling terrible again so maybe I went up too quickly, but we will come to this later. But I had arrived!
I walked around the lake a little and found a spot to recover, be in peace and eat my lunch. I took a few shots from this perspective.
The as more people started arriving and it became less tranquil I went for a short walk around the lake.
I had noticed another path on maps me and because I had two hours here I decided to break away from the crowds and explore a little. More and more tour groups were appearing. The path led up to one of the 6000 metre base camps and I wasn’t going to try hiking all the way. It was a very narrow path with some big drops and I was a little scared, so I walked until a point where I thought it would be too steep for me easily to get down and I settled in to enjoy the views and get another perspective of the lake.
I would have stayed longer but I noticed that the clouds around one of the mountain was clearing more so I headed back to the lake to get some more shots.
I spent the rest of the time by the lake reading my book until the guide called it was time for us to head back to the bus. I couldn’t see a rush of people and I later realised that many of them had already left, maybe due to the altitude. I was feeling a little headache by now but going down always made things better. The route back to the bus was the same but the weather was better so I took more pictures on the return trip.
First it was time to walk back down the steep hill, then across the valley and around the lake. It was all quite far and I was surprised that is managed to walk up so quickly.
Back in the first valley I took more shots of the waterfall and the sun had appeared making it quite a warm hike.
When I arrived at the pickup point there were a lot of busses but none was mine. I was the first of my group to arrive and had overtaken many people on the way back. People started to arrive one by one and I realised I was in the correct place. I saw one guy being sick which was a shame. It was a tight road and there was some shouting going on as drivers tried to manoeuvre their busses. Still ours soon turned up and I got on board. We were delayed by two idiots who had gotten on the wrong bus as people looked for them. Somehow they were found and we drove to pick them up. I even tried chatting a little Spanish to the girl who was sat next to me.
I was feeling pretty exhausted and drained so was very happy to stop at the breakfast spot and to pick up some snacks as I felt they would help. They didn’t and by the time I got back to Huaraz i felt awful. I don’t really know how I did it but i needed supplies for the trek in the morning so I got cash, bread and went to the supermarket before heading back to the hostel. I stayed in bed for a while before I made dinner which was probably a mistake and went to bed with what felt like a fever. I cancelled the hike the next day and just stayed in bed. My stomach was hurting so I avoided food and didn’t really do much else. Luckily I had brought my bus ticket to Lima so I didn’t have to do anything. I did get out for a short walk and had a coffee which I’m sure didn’t help.
The next morning I felt better and got on the bus to Lima. I slowly tried eating different food and was able to stomach it. I still felt some pain but was he really much better. We made good time to Lima but then hit the city traffic which is just crazy and doesn’t seem to move. The bus visited three stops in Lima and I took the second one as I could get a bus to Barranco from here. Then it was plain sailing and I discovered I was the only guest at my hostel.