August 4th Peru

by - August 07, 2018

We set our alarm for 4:30 AM to get a head start on the Santa Cruz trek, which is in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.  We walked 20 minutes to the colectivo bus station and hopped on the 5:30 bus.  After an hour we arrived in a small town called Yungay where we switched colectivos.  This was a long, dusty, bumpy, and dangerous 4 hour ride to a tiny town called Vaqueria.  We stopped along the way to pay the $20 entrance fee per person to get into the Huascaran National Park.  The ride had the best views of the mountain range and even a couple mountain lakes.  Once we arrived at the trail head we set off.  The beginning elevation was around 11,000 ft above sea level.  We were instantly greeted by a trail dog who instantly received the name Bandit after eating half my breakfast and then disappearing.  He joined us on and off the entire trip and was great company.  He truly believed that he would eventually catch a bird if he kept trying.  We were passed by about 4 groups of donkeys carrying camping supplies for the trekking companies.  It is very impressive how much they carry and for how long.  We saw one donkey laying down and was unable to get up because of the weight on his back.  Not sure why the two men were just sitting there staring at it instead of helping it(😠).  It took us 4 hours to complete the trek on the first day.  It was pleasant terrain, especially since we still seemed to be acclimating to the elevation.  You catch your breath and then 10 steps later you can't breath again.  We passed a couple tiny villages and many farm animals.  We ended the day at 12,400 ft.  When we arrived at the first camping area we scouted out a nice spot that had a view and some privacy away from the larger guided groups.  We set up camp and then went to the river to clean up.  It was freezing as expected.  We proceeded to make the worst spaghetti we have ever had in our lives.  Ever eaten gluten free noodles?  Well, it was about that bad.  We then made a nice fire and enjoyed it for a long while until one of the guides yelled out in Spanish "fires are prohibited".  I had a good laugh because Bart didn't hear what he said and smiled and waved at the man.  We put the fire out, watched a movie, and went to bed around 8 PM.  It was a cold one.  

For the record: Bart agreed that we would get two donkeys when we get our own house!

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