When Emily is ill with a cold/flu, she wants to be at home in bed, warm, with cups of tea, and to switch off the world until she feels fit to face it again. Her level of happiness over time is inversely proportional to the number of tissues required (30 little packets and counting), and she loses the desire to be interested in anything or to write anything. She would prefer to have someone to look after her if possible, but otherwise she’d rather just rest and hide away. A week and a half of stubborn annoying symptoms later, she’s a bit fed up!
She’d rather not have a deadline to be somewhere miles away and have to drag herself onto night bus after cold night bus, lurching from side to side round the mountain roads, which also upsets her stomach, but on this occasion she has no choice. She’s about to do the 4-day Inca Trail trek so she needs to man up and ideally do some acclimatisation hikes! At least she manages to see some more impressive sights on the way.
So, from Chachapoyas a night bus at the front on the top, via Chiclayo again, to Trujillo. Not a lot good to say about Trujillo to be honest (would’ve gone to see the Chan Chan ruins but germs stopped me) and I just tried to sleep, day, night, day, in the cold deserted hostel, after buying my next bus ticket out of there. The Plaza de Armas is quite impressive:
Arriving at Huaraz early the next morning I knew I’d made the right decision to get myself there, as the massive snow-capped mountains really lift my spirits. The hostel was quite busy and sociable and I had a bed tucked away in the corner where I could sleep again for another whole day. These are views from the terrace:
After taking yet another day to rest, spending time in the lovely little California Cafe in Huaraz, I then did a more challenging hike to Laguna 69. I paid for the trip the night before, having started to feel a bit better, but then had a sleepless night thanks to the person in the bunk above me constantly moving around. Grr. So I set off in the morning convinced that I was going to quit halfway through the walk…
First you drive past a town called Yungay which has rebuilt itself in a different location following a devastating earthquake-induced avalanche in 1970. 10 million cubic metres of ice, rock and snow from the Huascarán glacier broke away and 3 minutes later, Yungay and its 25,000 inhabitants were buried. This is the top of the old cathedral tower.
The 6km trail to the lake starts fairly flat, followed by a section of switchbacks to climb up, followed by another flat section followed by another climb. In total you end up at 4600m above sea level: 700m higher than where you started.
After more than an hour soaking in the scenery, as the weather dulled off we headed back down the valley retracing our steps to the start. It’s reassuring to know your way back is all downhill, and I enjoyed that walk back so much, striding back down the valley lost in my own world listening to my music with a big smile on my face!