This is an account of the Huaraz part of our expedition written by Ross Mcculloch, who previously wrote about the death road and jungle but forgot to sign.
On Saturday morning last week we all arose to a day full of fun and trek prep which included a meeting convened in the courtyard where all Alex, Ross, Tyler, Bash and Rory had to do was crawl out of their beds and attempt to soak in information, while for most of them the courtyard was still spinning due to the antics of the previous night. We then split up into our usual groups of breakfast club, lunch and the cooks for dinner to go and sort out the trek food. Rory and Ross joined Nico in going into the market where he had his heart set on everyone having meat for the first meal on trek, but little did we know when we past the gates of the market waiting for us was the second worst smell we have ever smelt in our lives, the first being the poo street of Potosi (impossible to beat). It got so bad Rory and Ross had to exit the building because it was so horrible. Later that day we adjourned in the courtyard to see what everyone had bought and then we found out that the Danes instead of buying coconut milk had bought cream because the shops didn’t have the most varied of options to buy. So there was us thinking that on day two of trek we were going to be left with curdled milk and vegetables with rice. We were then taken to a restaurant with table tennis and pool for dinner which was dominated by Rory, Ross and Alex, that night some epic games and many tears were shed.
We woke up bright and early at the time of six o clock to start our day walk, we caught a 3 hour bus ride up into this canyon which not many people could appreciate because the inhabitants of the bus were all asleep. We arrived at the start of our day walk and this is when we realise that our guide Abel is the most fashionable man in Peru with his aviators and green fleece and jeans to go walking in we all felt under dressed. We made quick time and got going in the walk up to a glacial lake which was the surprise of the day. We arrived at this unbelievably blue lake which we were all speechless by. We ate our lunch of cheese and bread, no meat matt wasn’t happy, and we found out why the lake was blue it was because of it being so close to the glacier that it still had particles of ice in that reflected the light. The geographers in the group like Laura, Alice and Ross already knew this information and took enjoyment in geography banter by pointing out geographical objects. We then exited the glacial valley and took the bus back to Huaraz where we spent the night dubious of the trek to come knowing that it is our hardest trek. We arose in the morning to catch the bus which was six hours to the site where we were to spend the first night. That day consisted in Bash accidentally throwing Frisbees ridiculously hard into people’s legs and playing football against the locals but the game came to an annoying halt when a cow decided to trample on Alex, Ross and Laura’s tent and make a hole in it. We came to a quick agreement that the locals would have to do some quick patchwork or feel the wrath of Matt, as you would expect they came back with a very improved tent patch work so all was happy, and we sat out in a tent and ate our chifa with chicken and went to bed a happy group.
The next day is when the trek started; we all woke up early and started our hardcore walking to the campsite where we would spend the next few nights. Mother nature was kind to us for the first half of the walk but for the last 2 hours she took an annoying turn and made it rain which we weren’t too happy about, but then when we were all dreading putting our tents up in the rain we turned the last corner to the campsite and in the distance we saw that our other guide had gone ahead and set up our tents for us. This excited us greatly as you can imagine so immediately everyone got into the tents and got warm and cosy. Then we all remembered that it was the Danes turn to cook so we were all hungry but with the prospect of curdled milk and vegetable rice some of us dug into our snacks a little more than we should have. But on entry to the tent we were greeted with a surprisingly great smelling meal so once again we all went to bed with happy full stomachs. The next day was our day walk up to the snow line and the possibility of reaching 5000m. Instead of everyone taking their own bags we split up into twos and had one bag between two people. This walk was a rather challenging one but the reward was great; we saw beautiful snow peaked mountains and lakes that everyone was amazed by. We then went back to the campsite for our last meal and we had another surprise: our other guide had caught us fresh trout from the lake so we all had trout and pasta for dinner and our last meal on that trek. That night it was cold and went below freezing point.
When we woke up our tent flaps were frozen to the doors. This was the last day on trek and everyone had a tough and gruelling time to reach the 4700m pass, which roused a lot of debate between the shape of it either being a U or a V (rather silly really). We had one last push to get there – everyone was tired but we achieved it in good time and we then sat looking out on all sides in silence because of the surroundings which were truly fantastic. Then we started the walk down to where the bus would meet us. Femke was the first to shout out in happiness that she could see the bus. Everyone was a little happy because all of us were tired and had a hard trek.
We got back to our hostel in good time where we were all tired and had a hard day so we went to bed relatively early also in aspect of doing canyoning the next day we were all excited about. The next day we got up and met with our wet suits which looked hilarious: Alex looked like a Kazakhstani so for the rest of the day the guys put on a Borat accent which I assume annoyed a few people but added comedic value to the day. We got canyoning rather quickly with quite a steep water fall to go down; everyone succeeded and triumphed. The next waterfall was slightly longer but not as steep; we all triumphed again. The final waterfall proved a challenge for all red headed folk in the group who fell a quarter of the way down the water fall (2 metres) and forever after he will be complaining that his elbows hurt and getting the same reply: “man up”. We got back to the hostel again in good time where we all prepared for Friday night in Huaraz, but only some of us ended up going out because we found out that the next night was going to be even bigger as it would be our last night in Huaraz.
This brings us to the last day: we awoke and got ready to go and do some bridge swinging which all of us eagerly anticipated. When we got to the bridge we all sat there and Rory was first up to the plate where he literally took the first leap and made all of us know what we were in for. After that Alice accidentally did a perfect flip strait off and impressed us all. Ross hung upside down for most of the time. Everyone enjoyed themselves and completed the task. Then came another task of having to flag a bus for all of us because our one never came back annoyingly. We eventually got back and found out that there was a big bbq going on that night which all of us helped with. It was a great success. Finally came the big night out: we went to the club with our guide able who once again out did us all being a Peruvian fashion icon, we then witnessed our leader Matt having a dance off with a man who carried an umbrella to a club for reasons unknown. It was a success of a night and everyone enjoyed themselves.
The end, until the next entry…